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[Separate  No.    15 

Chapters  in  Fox  River   Valley  History 

I.    William  Powell's  Recollections 
II.    Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River,  bv 
John  Wallace  Arndt 

?rom   the  Proceedings  of  the  State  Historical  Society  of  Wisconsin  for 
19 1 2,  pages   146-220] 


Published  for  the  Society 

[Separate  No.    152] 

Chapters   in  Fox  River    Valley  Historv 

I.    William  Powell's  Recollections 
[I.    Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River,  by 
John  Wallace  Arndt 

From   the  Proceedings  o;  the   State  Histonca.  Society  of  Wisconsin  for 
1912,  pages    146-220] 

Published  rbr  the  Societv 

IQl  1 

William    Powell's    Recollections 

In  an  Interview  with  Lyman  C.  Draper1 

Peter  Powell,2  my  father,  was  horn  in  England  in  1778.  Com- 
ing to  what  is  now  Wisconsin  in  ]800,  he  engaged  in  the  Indian 
trade,  his  earliest  post  being  at  "White  Rapids  on  Menominee 
River,  about  eighty  miles  from  Green  Bay;  he  made  his  returns 
at  Mackinac  and  passed  his  summers  at  Green  Bay  settlement. 
At  lirst  he  was  a  clerk  for  Jacob  Franks,3  but  afterwards  en- 

1  In  the  Society's  annual  report  for  1878  (Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  viii,  p. 
53)  is  the  following:  "The  secretary,  during  the  past  year,  *  *  * 
made  a  visit  to  Capt.  Win.  Powell,  of  Shawano  County,  a  native  o: 
Wisconsin,  now  bordering  closely  on  three  score  and  ten,  and  inti- 
mately connected  with  the  Menomonees  and  other  Wisconsin  tribes 
since  1819,  and  noted  down  a  lengthy  statement  of  his  dictation,  em- 
bracing his  recollections  of  the  Menomonees  and  their  prominent 
Chiefs,  Col.  Robert  Dickson,  the  British  leader  of  the  Northwestern  In- 
dian tribes  during  the  War  of  1812-15,  and  the  derivation  and  meaning 
of  many  Indian  geographical  names  in  Wisconsin  having  a  Menomonee 
origin."  The  interview  which  Doctor  Draper  took  down  in  notes  at 
the  time,  has  ever  since  remained  only  in  manuscript.  In  editing  this 
document  for  the  present  publication,  we  have  combined  therewith  a 
letter  written  by  William  Powell  some  years  later  to  the  present  Edi- 
tor, detailing  some  additional  facts  in  the  lives  of  both  father  and  son. 
In  working  both  sources  into  a  connected  narrative,  we  have  made  only 
such  changes  as  involved  re-arranging  the  material  and  improving  the 
phraseology  of  necessary  points.  It  is  believed  that  Powell's  Recollec- 
tions, while  not  as  valuable  as  those  of  Augustin  Grignon,  published  in 
Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  iii,  will  prove  an  authoritative  and  substantial  contri- 
bution to  early  Wisconsin  history. — Ed. 

'The  brief  sketch  of  Peter  Powell  in  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  xix,  p.  SS8, 
was  written  before  this  manuscript  came  to  light. — Ed. 

"For  a  Bketch  of  this  trader  see  Id,  xviii,  p.  463,  note  85.— Ed. 


D.  0F0,    :. 
MAR  25  1918 

William  Powell    (1810-1885) 
Enlarged  from  photograph  in  possession  of  the  Society 

Powell's  Recollections 

gaged  in  trade  for  himself.  My  mother  was  Mary  Jeffrey,  a  native 
of  Green  Bay,  and  half  Menominee.  Her  father  was  an  English- 
man, and  her  mother  belonged  to  the  family  of  chief  Oshkosh. 
My  father  and  mother  were  married  at  Mackinac  in  1802.  They 
had  a  family  of  eight,  five  sons  and  three  daughters,  of  which 
there  are  only  myself  and  a  younger  brother  now  (1877)  living. 
I  was  the  fourth  child  and  was  born  near  Death's  Door  at  the 
entrance  to  Green  Bay.  My  father  was  returning  from  Mack- 
inac to  Green  Bay  with  my  mother — he  had  taken  her  with  him 
to  Mackinac  when  he  went  after  his  goods ;  she  was  taken  sick  en 
route,  and  I  was  born  the  twenty-fifth  of  September,  1810. 

My  father  was  with  Colonel  McKay  at  the  capture  of  Prairie 
du  Chien.4  In  August,  1819  [July,  1818], 5  Col.  Robert  Dickson,6 
formerly  Indian  agent  for  the  British  in  the  War  of  1812,  vis- 
ited Green  Bay,  and  advised  my  father  to  go  to  Pembina  to 
trade,  saying  that  he  was  British  agent  there,7  and  would  do 
what  he  could  to  favor  his  interests. 

In  company  with  Dickson  we  started  from  Green  Bay  in  a 
bark  canoe,  hiring  four  French  voyageurs  and  a  hunter  to  kill 
game  en  route,  as  we  could  not  carry  provisions  enough  to  last 
during  the  trip.  We  coasted  Lake  Michigan  to  Mackinac  and 
up  Sault  St.  Mary  River  into  Lake  Superior,  coasted  that  lake 
and  through  the  Lake  [of  the]  Woods  and  Lake  Winnipeg, 
thence  up  Red  River  to  Pembina  settlement,  arriving  at  that 

4  For  a  history  of  the  expedition  see  Id,  xi,  pp.  254-270;  xiii,  pp.  1-14; 
and  post.    A  sketch  of  McKay  is  in  Id,  xix,  p.  365,  note  12. — Ed. 

*  In  his  interview  with  Draper,  Powell  told  him  that  they  left  for  the 
Red  River  country  in  August,  1819.  In  the  letter  written  later,  how- 
ever, he  gave  the  date  as  July,  1818.  In  the  light  of  his  further  state- 
ments and  of  other  corroborating  evidence,  it  seems  probable  that  the 
latter  was  the  correct  date. — Ed. 

•Dickson's  career  is  sketched  in  Id,  xii,  pp.  133-153;  additional  facts 
are  found  in  Id,  xix,  xx,  passim. — Ed. 

T  Dickson  was,  in  fact,  agent  for  Lord  Selkirk,  and  aiding  him  In  hia 
plans  for  settling  the  Red  River  country.  About  this  time  Dickson 
was  urging  all  the  prominent  traders  at  Green  Bay — Porlier,  Lawe,  and 
the  Grignons — to  remove  to  Red  River  and  take  with  them  the  Menom- 
inee tribesmen.  See  documenth  in  Id.  xx,  passim.  Apparently  Pow- 
ell was  the  only  one  of  the  old  British  traders  who  acceded  to  Dick- 
son's request. — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

place  the  last  of  September.  There  father  engaged  in  the  Indian 
trade,  having  purchased  his  goods  from  the  Hudson 's  Bay  Com- 
pany ;  remained  there  three  years ;  each  spring  he  went  to  Hud- 
son Bay  with  his  furs  and  returned  in  the  fall  with  his  goods. 

At  the  expiration  of  the  three  years  he  started  back  for  Green 
Bay  with  his  family,  by  a  land  route  to  the  headwaters  of 
Minnesota  River.  Late  in  November  of  1821,  we  arrived  at  Lake 
Traverse,  at  a  trading  post  then  kept  by  Mr.  Joseph  D'Raville,8 
who  was  employed  by  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  and  we 
passed  the  winter  at  that  place.  A  short  time  after  we  arrived 
at  Lake  Traverse  a  man  came  there  from  Illinois,  by  the  name 
of  Dixson,9  with  a  drove  of  cattle,  on  his  way  to  Pembina  set- 
tlement; but  as  winter  commenced  setting  in  he  was  obliged  to 
remain  there.  During  the  winter  he  lost  more  than  half  of  his 
cattle,  killed  by  wolves  and  Sioux  Indians. 

In  the  spring  of  1822  my  father  sold  his  carts  and  horses  to 
Mr.  D'Raville  and  bought  two  dugouts  large  enough  to  carry 
his  family  and  his  goods,  descended  Minnesota  River  to  its 
mouth,10  which  emptied  into   the  Mississippi   about  six  miles 

•  This  was  Joseph  Renville,  a  Dakota  half-breed  who  was  born  near 
St.  Paul  about  1779.  Educated  in  Canada,  he  early  entered  Dickson's 
employ  and  was  interpreter  and  guide  for  Pike  in  1805-06  and  for 
Major  Long  in  1823.  He  served  in  the  War  of  1812-15  as  captain  in 
the  British  Indian  department  under  Dickson,  and  afterwards  received 
a  pension.  About  1819  he  gave  up  this  pension,  became  an  American 
citizen,  and  in  1822  was  one  of  the  founders  of  the  Columbia  Fur  Com- 
pany. When  this  corporation  was  sold  (1827)  to  the  American  Fur 
Company,  he  retired  to  Lac  qui  Parle  and  there  died  in  1846.  A  Minne- 
sota county  bears  his  name.  See  fuller  biographical  sketch  in  Wis. 
Hist.  Colls.,  xx. — Ed. 

"On  a  map  published  in  1838  by  Judson,  of  the  territory  west  of  the 
Mississippi,  is  traced  a  route  from  Des  Moines  River  to  Lake  Traverse, 
marked  "McKnight  and  Dixon's  route,  1822."  This  no  doubt  refers  to 
the  cattle  train  here  noted.  Alexander  Ross,  Red  River  Settlement 
(London,  1856),  p.  73,  mentions  the  arrival  in  1822  of  a  herd  of  300 
cattle  that  sold  for  good  prices — the  first,  he  says,  that  came  to  the 
colony. — Ed. 

10  In  the  Society's  Wisconsin  Mss.,  10B28,  is  a  letter  from  Peter  Pow- 
ell to  John  Lawe,  dated  Lake  de  Traverse,  March  14,  1822.  After 
speaking  of  the  state  of  things  in  the  Red  River  country,  Powell  con- 


Powell's  Recollections 

above  St.  Paul.  That  summer  my  father  with  all  his  family, 
except  myself,  arrived  at  Green  Bay.  He  left  me  with  Capt. 
William  Alexander  of  the  Fifth  Regiment,  U.  S.  A.,  who  was 
stationed  at  Fort  Snelling.11  I  was  to  stay  with  him  until  my 
father  should  send  for  me,  in  order  to  go  to  the  school  which 
was  kept  in  the  garrison  for  the  officers'  children. 

Soon  after  my  father  returned  to  Green  Bay  he  again  en- 
gaged in  the  Indian  trade.  His  wintering  places  were  up  the 
Mississippi,  also  up  Minnesota  River  as  far  as  the  Blue  Earth, 
which  empties  into  it  thirty  to  forty  miles  above  St.  Paul.  In 
the  spring  he  made  his  returns  with  his  furs  at  Mackinac.  In 
1826  he  stopped  buying  his  goods  from  the  American  Fur  Com- 
pany and  bought  them  from  Daniel  Whitney  of  Green  Bay,12 
who  was  the  only  man  in  the  Western  Department  who  dared 
to  oppose  John  Jacob  Astor  in  the  Indian  trade.  In  the  spring 
of  1827  my  father  built  a  log  house  on  Lake  Butte  des  Morts  and 
left  his  family  at  thai  place  while  he  wintered  at  his  trading 
post;  returning  in  the  spring  he  passed  the  summer  with  his 
family  at  Butte  des  Morts.  That  place  continued  to  be  his  home 
till  his  death  in  September,  1837.  My  mother  survived  him 
several  years,  was  remarried,  and  died  at  Green  Bay  in  the 
summer  of  1844. 

The  French  and  Fox  War13 

From  Iometah,  Oshkosh,  and  other  aged  Menominee,  I  learned 
that  the  Sauk  and  Foxes  once  had  a  town  at  Red  Banks;  later 
they  removed  to  Green  Bay  and  got  into  trouble  with  the  French 

tinues  thus:  "there  is  no  prospect  of  doing  anything  in  this  Country. 
I  have  past  a  Miserable  winter  for  starvation.  I  intend  to  pass  the 
Spring  a  Hunting  then  go  down  to  the  Entry  of  St.  Peters  this  Sum- 
mer. *  *  *  I  am  now  much  distressed,  my  family  are  Quite  naked 
&  on  the  point  of  Starving." — Ed. 

"Alexander  was  at  this  time  lieutenant  in  the  5th  Infantry.  H« 
was  from  Tennessee,  entered  the  regular  army  in  1820,  was  promoted  to 
a  captaincy  in  1836,  and  died  two  years  later. — Ed. 

"For  a  sketch  of  this  early  Green  Bay  merchant,  see  Wis.  Hist. 
Colls.,  xii,  p.  274,  note  3.— Ed. 

13  See  Louise  P.  Kellogg,  "Fox  Indian  Wars,"  in  Wis.  Hist.  Soc. 
Proceedings,  1907,  pp.  142-188.— Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

and  were  made  to  retire  to  Little  Butte  des  Morts — now  Neenah. 
Here  they  exacted  tribute  in  the  following  way:  some  of  their 
leaders  would  post  themselves  on  either  side  of  the  stream  with 
a  long  pole,  held  up  and  leaning  over  the  water,  indicating  that 
the  trader's  boats  must  heave  to,  and  pay  tribute  before  pro- 
ceeding farther.  Getting  tired  of  these  exactions,  the  French 
got  up  an  expedition  and  drove  them  off  from  Little  Butte  des 
Morts.  The  Sauk  and  Foxes  then  retired  to  Big  Butte  des 
Morts  and  at  that  point  renewed  their  exactions  in  the  same 
way.  At  this  time  there  was  a  Menominee  who  had  married  a 
Sauk  wife.  The  French  and  Menominee  at  Green  Bay  prevailed 
on  him  to  go  to  the  Sauk  and  report  some  pitiful  story  of  bad 
treatment  on  the  part  of  his  people  as  a  reason  why  he  had  re- 
tired to  Big  Butte  des  Morts  to  make  his  future  home  with  his 
wife's  people;  and  to  report  also  that  there  were  some  traders' 
boats  soon  coming  up,  upon  which  they  could  levy  rich  tribute. 
In  time  the  flotilla  appeared  in  sight,  each  canoe  covered 
with  an  oilcloth  over  a  ridge-pole,  like  a  roof.  Beneath  this  were 
a  body  of  armed  French,  while  a  large  body  of  Menominee  and 
Chippewa  marched  up  the  river  by  land.  As  soon  as  the  fleet 
hove  in  sight  of  the  town,  the  Menominee  spy  quietly  and  un- 
noticed took  his  departure,  and  apprised  his  countrymen  whom 
he  soon  met,  that  the  boats  were  nearing  the  Sauk  and  Fox  vil- 
lage. Thereupon  they  hastened  and  crept  into  the  rear  of  the 
place.  As  the  boats  came  up,  and  the  tribute  poles  were  posted, 
the  French  made  for  the  town  landing,  and  the  people  rushed 
down  to  see  and  meet  them.  Then  the  boat  coverings  were  sud- 
denly thrown  off,  and  the  soldiers  fired  on  the  Sauk  and  Fox 
assemblage,  who  as  they  fled  back  to  their  houses  to  get  their 
weapons,  were  met  by  the  Menominee  and  Chippewa  in  the  rear, 
and  soon  overpowered.  Some  fled  to  "Winneconne,  about  three 
miles  distant,  where  many  were  overtaken  and  killed.  There 
their  bones  were  left  to  bleach  upon  the  ground,  hence  the  name 
— Winneconne,  ' '  the  place  of  skulls. ' '  Thus  the  Sauk  and  Foxes 
were  again  driven  westward,  up  the  Fox  and  down  the  "Wiscon- 
sin. A  part  of  them  went  up  to  Puckaway  and  Buffalo  lakes, 
and  settled  there ;  the  rest  settled  at  Sauk  Prairie  on  the  Wiscon- 
sin, where  subsequently  they  w-ere  joined  by  the  others. 


Powell's  Recollections 

War  of  1 8 12-15 

Chicago  Massacre,  1812:  Souligny  related  to  me  that  a 
splendid-looking  woman  (who  proved  to  have  been  an  officer's 
wife),  refused  to  surrender  after  the  Indians  attacked  the  re- 
treating garrison.  She  stood  up  in  a  wagon  and  defended  her- 
self with  her  sword,  cut  and  slashed  with  it,  and  perhaps 
wounded  an  Indian  or  two,  when  the  Indians,  who  would  have 
preserved  her  life,  felt  constrained  to  shoot  her.  Souligny  spoke 
of  her  long,  handsome,  flowing  hair.  He  likewise  referred  to 
her  heroism  in  sacrificing  her  life  rather  than  yield  herself  up 
a  prisoner  to  the  Indians.  Such  an  act  naturally  attracted  the 
attention  of  the  wTarriors.14 

Indians  under  Dickson.  During  1812-13  Col.  Robert  Dick- 
son wintered  in  a  nice  piece  of  timber  on  the  west  side  of  Lake 
Winnebago,  between  Garlic  Island  and  Neenah — about  half 
way  between  the  Island  and  Neenah.  He  reached  there  late  in 
1812  with  a  large  supply  of  British  presents  for  the  Indians, 
which  he  distributed  liberally ;  and  then  the  Indians  retired  for 
their  winter's  hunt,  being  admonished  to  meet  him  early  in  the 
spring  to  go  upon  the  warpath.15  They  assembled  in  large 
numbers  and  received  numerous  presents  and  supplies ;  but  at 
Mackinac  a  large  portion  of  them  backed  out  and  returned  home, 
so  Souligny  and  others  related,  conveying  the  idea  that  only  the 
boldest  and  bravest  kept  on. 

At  Fort  Meigs,  Souligny  first  met  Tecumseh,  shook  hands  with 
him,  and  represented  that  he  regarded  it  as  an  honor  to  have 
met  and  fought  by  the  side  of  so  noted  and  brave  a  man. 
Tecumseh  was  tall,  fully  six  feet,  and  well-formed.  Arrived  at 
Fort  Meigs,  they  drew  a  party  of  Americans  into  an  ambuscade 

14  Probably  this  was  Mrs.  Corbin,  wife  of  a  sergeant.  Mrs.  Kinzie  in 
Wauban  (Caxton  ed.,  1901),  p.  178,  refers  to  her  heroism.  She  also 
narrates  the  resistance  of  a  Mrs.  Holt,  who  hacked  and  cut  with  her 
husband's  sword;  but  she  was  on  horseback,  not  in  a  wagon;  and 
moreover  she  was  ultimately  saved  from  death. — Ed. 

15  See  Dickson  papers  in  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  xi,  pp.  271-315;  xix,  pp. 
344-346.  In  xi,  p.  278,  Dickson  dates  his  letter  from  Garlic  Island, 
which  would  seem  to  indicate  that  he  wintered  thereon,  not  on  the 
mainland.     Arndt,  post,  also  locates  Dickson  on  the  island. — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

[Colonel  Dudley's  party],16  but  after  that  failed  to  make  any 
impression  on  the  fort,  only  now  and  then  picking  off  some  of 
the  sentinels.  Finally  as  a  last  resort,  Tecumseh  formed  the 
novel  idea  of  the  pretended  fight  in  the  woods — as  if  the  In- 
dians were  encountering  an  American  reinforcement — expecting 
the  garrison  would  hasten  out  to  the  relief  of  their  supposed 
friends.  But  General  Harrison  was  too  wary  to  be  caught  in 
a.ny  such  trap.17  During  the  siege  two  Menominee  were  cap- 
tured by  some  American  Shawnee,  but  managed  to  escape.  Be- 
coming discouraged,  the  British  Indians  wanted  to  go  home, 
when  Colonel  Dickson  and  the  British  leaders,  to  divert  their 
attention,  led  them  against  Sandusky.  There  the  Indians  picked 
off  some  of  the  Americans  going  for  water ;  but  after  the  I  ritish 
repulse,  all  retired.18 

There  probably  were  no  Menominee  at  the  taking  of  Detroit, 
or  at  the  River  Raisin.  Souligny  and  others  spoke  as  though 
their  first  service  was  when  Dickson  embodied  them  and  led 
them  to  Fort  Meigs  and  Sandusky. 

Mackinac  in  1814.  There  lived  for  many  years  a  very  aged 
Winnebago  chief,  called  Caramaunee,  at  a  little  village  composed 
of  only  three  or  four  bark  lodges  belonging  to  himself  and  his 
sons-in-law,  located  about  two  miles  east  of  what  is  since  called 
Waukau.  [Captain  Powell  suggests  that  this  may  be  a  slight 
change  or  corruption  for  Nahkaw].19  East  of  Fox  River,  about 
two  miles  above  Omro,  is  Delhi.  Some  two  miles  back  [south] 
east  of  Delhi  was  Waukau,  on  the  old  Fort  Winnebago  trail 
from  Green  Bay  to  the  Fox-Wisconsin  portage.  About  two 
miles  east  [south]  of  Waukau,  on  the  west  bank  of  [the  outlet 
of]  Rush  or  Mud  Lake,  near  the  centre  of  the  stream,  was  Car- 

18  The  interpolation  is  probably  that  of  Dr.  Draper,  explaining  Pow- 
ell's reference  to  an  ambuscade.  For  a  brief  account  of  the  siege  of 
Fort  Meigs  and  Dudley's  defeat  (May  5,  1813)  see  C.  P.  Lucas,  The 
Canadian  War  of  1812  (Oxford,  1906),  pp.  75-77.— Ed. 

17  Reference  is  here  made  to  the  second  siege  of  Fort  Meigs  in  July; 
see  Ibid,  p.  78. — Ed. 

18  This  relates  to  the  siege  of  Fort  Stephenson,  Aug.  1  and  2 ;  Ibid. 
pp.  78,  79— Ed. 

u  Nahkaw  was  the  Indian  form  of  Caramaunee's  name;  see  Wis.  Hist. 
Colls.,  v,  p.  181,  note.— Ed. 


Powell's  Recollections 

amaunee's  village.20  He  was  a.  large,  square-shouldered,  stout 
man,  not  very  tall,  but  with  a  powerful  frame  and  long  face. 
While  his  people  were  generally  regarded  as  unreliable  and 
thievish,  Caramaunee  bore  a  most  excellent  character,  was  liked 
by  all  traders,  and  was  friendly  to  the  whites.  "When  I  saw 
him  last,  about  1830,  he  seemed  nearly  a  hundred  years  of  age. 
He  said  he  was  out  with  Colonel  Dickson  in  the  War  of  1812, 
went  with  the  Menominee  to  Sandusky,  and  was  at  Mackinac 
when  Major  Holmes"1  was  shot  by  L'Espagnol. 

Caramaunee  and  L'Espagnol  both  gave  me  the  following  ac- 
count of  the  battle  on  Mackinac  Island.22  When  the  Americans 
landed,  the  Indians  and  most  of  the  garrison  went  out  to  way- 
lay them.  The  Indians  hid  behind  rocks  and  boulders  on  either 
side  of  the  anticipated  route,  while  the  English  with  cannon 
were  in  the  rear  towards  the  fort  to  draw  the  Americans  forward 
into  the  net  or  trap.  While  in  waiting,  the  few  whites  left  in 
the  fort  got  alarmed,  thought  the  Americans  were  approaching 
in  their  rear,  and  sent  a  messenger  in  great  haste  to  notify  those 
in  front ;  whereupon  nearly  all  the  Indians  fled  to  the  rear,  ex- 

20Publius  V.  Lawson,  Winnebago  County  (Chicago,  1908),  i,  p.  308, 
says  that  there  was  a  village  at  the  outlet  of  Rush  Lake  as  late  as  1846. 
According  to  John  T.  La  Ronde,  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  vii,  p.  350,  Caramau- 
nee had  by  1828  removed  to  the  Baraboo  River. — Ed. 

21  Maj.  Andrew  Hunter  Holmes  entered  the  regular  army  from  Missis- 
sippi at  the  outbreak  of  the  war,  and  was  assigned  as  captain  of  the 
24th  Infantry.  In  March,  1814,  he  distinguished  himself  in  a  skirmish 
on  the  River  Thames,  Ontario,  where  he  defeated  a  British  force  su- 
perior in  numbers  to  his  own.  For  this  success  he  was  promoted  to  the 
rank  of  major,  and  assigned  to  a  part  in  the  recovery  of  Mackinac.  He 
was  killed  Aug.  4,  1814,  and  after  the  recovery  of  his  body,  buried  at 
Detroit.  The  fort  on  the  highest  point  of  Mackinac  Island  was  subse- 
quently, in  his  honor,  named  Fort  Holmes. — Ed. 

22  The  expedition  to  recapture  Mackinac  was  undertaken  against  the 
judgment  of  the  American  officers  of  the  Western  department,  but  it 
was  ordered  from  Washington.  The  fleet  was  commanded  by  Commo- 
dore Sinclair;  the  land  forces  by  Col.  George  Croghan.  Landing  on  the 
west  side  of  the  island,  the  Americans  advanced  (Aug.  4,  1814),  against 
the  British  who  had  thrown  up  rude  fortifications.  The  death  of 
Holmes  threw  the  advance  into  confusion,  whereupon  retreat  to  the 
ships  was  ordered. — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

pecting  to  encounter  the  Americans  there;  but  it  proved  to  be 
a  false  alarm. 

L'Espagnol  and  his  nephew,  the  Yellow  Dog  (Oshawwah- 
nem),23  remained  in  their  places  of  secretion.  Oshawwahnem 
said  "Uncle,  let  us  go  with  the  others."  "No,"  said  L'Espag- 
nol, "I  shall  remain;  if  you  wish  to  go,  you  can;  but  you 
ought  to  show  proper  respect  for  your  uncle  by  standing  by 
him. ' '  Soon  they  saw  the  Americans  approaching  by  the  route 
along  which  they  were  originally  expected,  with  the  officers  and 
a  small  bodyguard  in  front.  The  dress  of  one  officer  was 
thickly  covered  with  silver  lace,  upon  which  the  sun  sbone  and 
reflected  brilliantly.  Supposing  this  to  be  the  principal  officer, 
the  young  nephew  asked  of  his  uncle  the  privilege  of  shooting 
him,  as  it  would  be  the  greatest  honor.  Among  the  Indians,  it 
was  a  custom  that  when  an  uncle  commanded  a  nephew  to  per- 
form any  service,  however  dangerous,  he  was  in  duty  bound  to 
do  it  with  unquestioned  promptitude ;  asd  in  return  the  nephew 
had  the  right  to  ask  any  favor  of  hip  uncle,  which  must  as 
readily  be  complied  with.  Hence  L'Espagnol  promptly  acceded 
to  Yellow  Dog's  request.  The  nephew  was  to  fire  when  his 
uncle  should  set  the  example  by  firing  at  a  plainer  dressed 
officer,  who  was  swinging  bis  sword  carelessly  by  the  handle. 
When  L'Espagnol  fired,  Major  Holmes — for  so  he  proved  to  be 
— with  his  epaulette  on  his  shoulder,  fell  forward  dead.  His 
sword  and  cap  were  pitched  somewhat  ahead  of  him,  and 
L'Espagnol  had  barely  time  to  dash  out,  seize  them,  and  hasten 
away  in  the  rear  of  the  rocks,  with  his  nephew  following  him. 
The  latter 's  gun  had  missed  fire,  so  the  bespangled  captain 
escaped  unhurt. 

"When  Major  Holmes  fell,  his  negro  servant  ran  off  with  his 
body,  hiding  it  between  a  couple  of  boulders  and  throwing  some 
leaves  and  stuff  over  him.  Hence,  when  the  Indians  subse- 
quently returned  to  get  his  scalp  and  searched  carefully,  they 

25  Dr.  Draper  wrote  on  the  Ms.,  "It  must  be  an  error  in  Grignon's 
'Recollections'  [Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  iii,  p.  280]  that  Oshawwahnem  was  a 
cousin  of  L'Espagnol."  But  Indian  relationships  were  not  carefully 
marked  in  degree — the  difference  between  nephew  and  cousin  might 
not  be  regarded  as  important.  For  further  information  concerning  this 
chief,  consult  Id,  x,  pp.  499,  500. — Ed. 


Powell's  Recollections 

failed  to  find  it.  Shortly  after,  the  Americans  sent  back  a 
flag  of  truce  from  their  ships  lying  at  anchor,  asking  permission 
to  take  away  Major  Holmes's  body.  This  was  granted  and  the 
Indians  who  went  along  with  the  British  guard  were  surprised 
when  the  American  party,  with  the  "black  meat"  (as  they 
termed  the  negro  servant)  for  their  guide,  went  and  uncovered 
the  concealed  body  within  a  few  feet  of  where  they  had  repeat- 
edly passed  in  search  of  it.  Thus  L'Espagnol  lost  his  much  cov- 
eted scalp ;  but  the  exploit,  and  the  trophies  which  he  gave  to 
Colonel  Dickson,  gave  him  a  high  reputation  among  his  people. 
I  myself  saw  in  1819  the  sword  and  cap  formerly  belonging  to 
Major  Holmes,  then  in  Dickson's  possession. 

The  Yellow  Dog  must  have  died  early,  for  I  have  no  recol- 
lection of  ever  having  seen  him.  L'Espagnol  used  to  live  in 
the  Green  Bay  region,  making  his  winter  hunts  up  the  Wiscon- 
sin. He  was  an  excellent  hunter  and  trapper,  and  really  a 
peaceable  and  good  Indian  and  popular  with  the  traders.  L'Es- 
pagnol was  not  less  than  six  feet  two  inches  in  height,  rawboned, 
and  powerful.  He  could  pack  on  his  back  a  deer  he  had 
killed,  a  five-year-old  buck,  weighing  over  two  hundred  pounds. 
Saketoo,  the  eldest  surviving  son  of  L'Espagnol,  and  a  younger 
brother,  are  (1877)  living  near  Keshena. 

Prairie  du  Chien  Expedition.  I  have  no  knowledge  of  Col- 
onel McKay's  history  prior  or  subsequent  to  the  Prairie  du 
Chien  expedition.  But  I  knew  Duncan  Graham,  a  Scotchman 
who  married  a  Sioux  woman.  He  was  a  small-sized  man  and 
while  on  a  visit  to  Green  Bay  about  1830,  got  a  power  of  attor- 
ney from  Peter  Powell,  John  Lawe,  and  some  of  the  Grignons 
for  British  services,  and  went  to  Montreal  to  collect  the  claims; 
but  he  was  never  heard  of  afterwards.24 

My  father,  who  was  in  McKay's  expedition,  used  to  relate 
that  the  [American]  gunboat  was  upon  the  river  above  the  fort. 
When  the  British  and  Indians  (Menominee,  Winnebago,  Sioux, 
some  Chippewa,  and  perhaps  Potawatomi)   were  lying  around 

"For  facts  in  regard  to  the  life  of  Duncan  Graham,  see  Id,  ix,  pp. 
299,  467.  Peter  Powell  was  employed  by  Graham  in  the  Red  River 
country,  1818-21,  so  that  Captain  William  must  have  known  him  when 
a  boy.  The  story  of  his  disappearance  is  untrue;  he  died  in  Minnesota 
about  1845,  at  the  home  of  his  son-in-law,  Alexander  Faribault. — Ed. 

11  [  155  ] 

Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

on  the  flats,  beleaguering  the  post,  the  gunboat  floated  down. 
Seeing  the  British  and  Indians  apparently  so  numerous,  those 
on  board  of  the  boat  regarded  the  chance  of  maintaining  the 
fort  as  hopeless,  so  concluded  that  their  best  course  was  to  save 
themselves  and  boat  and  pass  on  down  the  river.  As  they 
passed,  the  [American]  garrison  hailed  them,  and  even  shot  off 
their  cannon  at  the  vessel  from  the  bastions,  to  make  them 
heave  to;  but  they  passed  on  without  stopping.  Lewis  From 
[Louis  Manaigre] ,  one  of  the  crew  or  men  on  the  gunboat,  whom 
I  later  knew  well,  stated  to  me  that  the  shot  from  the  American 
cannon  penetrated  the  stern  of  the  vessel. 

When  the  British  first  arrived  and  demanded  a  surrender  the 
American  commander  refused;  thereupon  Colonel  McKay  had 
a  furnace  erected  to  heat  balls  with  which  to  attempt  to  fire  the 
fort.  Seeing  the  gunboat  had  deserted  them,  the  garrison  con- 
cluded it  was  best  to  surrender,  and  did  so  just  as  the  British 
had  got  ready  to  fire  their  hot  shot.  Peter  Powell  used  to  say 
that  had  the  gunboat  taken  its  place  near  the  fort,  it  could  have 
done  effectual  work  in  beating  back  the  British  and  Indians,  and 
he  thought,  would  have  saved  the  garrison.  I  have  heard  the 
Menominee  speak  of  Colonel  McKay  as  a  brave,  good  leader  and 
instance  the  fact  that  when  the  Americans  fired  their  cannon, 
the  Indians  would  dodge  behind  some  protection,  or  fall  upon 
the  ground ;  but  Colonel  McKay  himself  would  remain  standing, 
erect  and  fearless.  On  the  way  to  Prairie  du  Chien,  there  was 
but  a  short  supply  of  salt,  so  the  expedition  had  to  take  barrels 
of  sugar  to  use  in  covering  and  preserving  the  fresh  beef,  which 
answered  the  purpose. 

Boilvin,25  the  Indian  agent  at  the  Prairie,  was  scared  half  to 
death;  he  acted  as  British  or  American,  as  best  answered  his 
purpose.  Peter  Powell  also  related  that  while  the  negotiations 
were  going  on  for  the  surrender  at  the  gate,  and  the  firing  had 
ceased,  the  Indians  pressed  up  to  the  outside  of  the  pickets, 
when  one  of  the  Sioux  peeping  through  a  crack  between  the 
pickets,  seeing  an  American  soldier  near-by  called  out  " how-do," 
extending  his  hand.  When  the  American  thrust  his  hand 
through  between  the  pickets,  the  Indian  seized  it  with  one  hand, 

'■For  a  sketch  of  Nicolas  Boilvin  see  Id,  xix,  p.  314,  note  61. — Ed. 


Powell's  Recollections 

at  the  same  time  treacherously  drawing  his  knife  and  cutting 
the  soldier's  hand  quite  to  the  bone  before  the  treachery  was 
discovered.  When  Colonel  McKay  learned  the  facts,  he  ferreted 
out  the  culprit,  and  punished  him  by  degrading  him  to  a  squaw, 
depriving  him  of  his  gun,  and  putting  on  him  a  petticoat. 

Rolette26  was  sent  by  canoe  with  a  flag  and  a  few  men  to 
carry  dispatches  to  Mackinac  from  Colonel  McKay.  As  they 
hove  in  sight  of  Mackinac,  singing  their  songs,  the  people  all 
rushed  to  the  landing,  asking  for  news  from  the  expedition  be- 
fore they  reached  the  shore.  Rolette,  excited  and  impressed 
with  the  importance  of  what  had  been  accomplished,  replied: 
"Oh,  we've  gained  a  great  and  bloody  battle  and  victory  I'8 
when  in  fact  scarcely  any  lives  were  lost. 

The  only  Menominee  I  now  recall  who  served  in  the  War  of 
1812  and  is  still  living,  is  Okamawsah,  known  by  the  whites  as 
Louis  Ducharme.  He  was  a  half-breed  son  of  Colonel  Du- 
charme,27 and  on  going  to  parties  used  to  put  on  his  uniform. 
The  Colonel  himself  was  a  large,  dignified  man,  and  died  when 
quite  aged,  at  Green  Bay  about  1831. 

Tecum seh.  From  what  Souligny  and  others  related,  I  under- 
stand that  Tecumseh  never  visited  the  Green  Bay  Menominee  in 
persons;  but  some  of  his  messengers  did  come,  bringing  a  wam- 
pum belt  or  speech,  urging  the  Menominee  to  join  the  confeder- 
acy, and  they  accomplished  their  object.  Souligny  and  others 
had  formed  a  high  opinion  of  Tecumseh,  and  used  to  relate  that 
they  first  saw  the  great  Shawnee  leader  at  Fort  Meigs,  in  the 
spring  of  1813. 

Robert  Dickson 

I  know  nothing  of  Dickson's  early  life.  Soon  after  he  came 
out  as  a  trader,  he  married  a  daughter  of  Wanoti,  head  chief 
of  the  Yankton  band  of  the  Sioux — a  band  that  lived  on  the 

"For  Joseph  Rolette  see  Ibid,  p.  140,  note  84. — Ed. 

"For  a  brief  sketch  of  Col.  Joseph  Ducharme,  see  Ibid,  p.  293,  note 
22;  his  son  Louis  is  mentioned  in  Id,  xv,  pp.  215-217.  Dr.  Draper,  how- 
ever, thought  that  reference  was  here  made  to  a  son  of  Dominique, 
brother  of  Joseph  and  Paul  Ducharme. — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

plains  and  prairies.28  His  oldest  child,  William,29  was  in  1819 
about  twenty-one  and  just  married.  Thus  he  was  born  about 
1798,  and  Dickson  must  have  formed  this  marriage  connection 
about  1797.  Dickson's  wife  was  a  very  small  woman,  fair  of 
complexion,  but  at  forty  not  handsome.  When  we  left  Pembina 
in  the  spring  of  1822  and  went  to  Fort  Snelling,  we  met  Dick- 
son, who  shortly  after  left  his  children  there  and  took  his  wife 
on  a  visit  to  England.  It  was  said  that  he  presented  her  to  the 
king  and  court,  where  she  maintained  herself  with  much  dignity. 

The  Indians  fairly  reverenced  and  worshipped  Dickson,  re- 
garding him  as  a  great  man.  He  was  of  fine  appearance,  over 
six  feet  in  height,  a  very  large-sized  man,  in  later  life  being 
somewhat  corpulent,  weighing  over  two  hundred  pounds.  The 
Indians  called  him  Mascotapah,  or  The  Red-haired  Man — some- 
times Dick-e-son.  He  was  generous  to  a  fault,  and  humane. 
Souligny  related  that  Dickson  constantly  impressed  it  upon  the 
Indians  not  to  kill  and  take  scalps  when  they  could  take  prison- 
ers, saying  that  the  greater  warriors  took  and  saved  prisoners 
rather  than  destroyed  them.  I  also  remember  having  heard 
that  Colonel  Snelling  entertained  Colonel  Dickson  very  courte- 
ously at  Fort  Snelling,  in  recognition  of  his  humanity  during 
the  War  of  1812-15. 

Dickson  used  to  assure  the  Menominee  and  Sioux  that  those 
Avho  had  served  under  the  British  standard  should  never  be  for- 
gotten ;  that  their  Great  Father  had  empowered  him  to  say  that 
as  long  as  one  should  be  alive  who  had  thus  served  the  king,  he 
should  not  want;  that  their  lodges  should  be  covered  with  scar- 
let cloth. 

In  1823  Dickson  visited  Prairie  du  Chien,  leaving  there  his 
daughter  Ellen,  then  a  young  lady  grown,  probably  to  obtain 
something  of  an  education.  This  was  the  last  time  that  I  ever 
saw  him.  Ellen  subsequently  married  Joseph  R.  Brown,  a  ser- 
geant in  the  army,  who  was  not  long  after  discharged  and  went 

"According  to  Warren,  "History  of  the  Ojibwa,"  in  Minn.  Hist.  Colls., 
v,  p.  363,  Wanahta,  chief  of  the  Yankton  band,  was  a  nephew  of  Dick- 
Bon'B  wife.  The  former  was  a  noted  Sioux  chief  of  the  plains  of  the" 
Red  River  of  the  North. — Ed. 

"For  a  brief  sketch  of  William  Dickson,  see  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  xix, 
p.  444,  note  73.— Ed. 


Powell's  Recollections 

to  live  upon  a  farm  near  Fort  Armstrong,  on  the  western  side 
of  the  Mississippi  There  I  once  stayed  over  night  with  him,  and 
have  since  learned  that  he  was  a  member  of  the  Minnesota  legis- 
lature during  its  territorial  period,  so  he  must  have  subsequently 
removed  to  Minnesota.30 

Dickson's  son  Thomas  was  a  clerk  in  the  Indian  trade,  and 
got  killed  in  some  affray  with  the  Sioux.  The  younger  girl 
lived  at  Faribault.  I  think  it  was  not  long  after  this  visit  to 
Prairie  du  Chien  and  Green  Bay,  that  the  news  came  of  Dick- 
son's death  at  Drummond  Island.31 

Menominee  chiefs 

Among  the  Menominee,  the  White  Beaver  (to  which  Oshkosh 
belonged),  the  Wolf,  the  Turtle,  the  Crane,  and  the  Bear  were 
the  principal  clans — there  were  several  lesser  ones,  such  as  the 
Turkey,  etc. 

Tomah  was  a  large,  fine  man,  much  respected  by  whites  and 

Souligny  was  fond  of  relating  his  war  exploits,  and  rather  mag- 
nified them.  He  was  about  five  feet  nine  inches  high,  very 
stoutly  built,  and  strong.  He  died  about  1867  of  erysipelas, 
nearly  eighty  years  old,  but  well  preserved.33 

30  Maj.  Joseph  R.  Brown  was  one  of  the  most  influential  of  the  early 
settlers  of  Minnesota.  Born  in  Maryland  in  1805,  he  ran  away  at  the 
age  of  fourteen  and  joined  the  United  States  army  as  a  drummer.  Com- 
ing with  Colonel  Leavenworth  to  Fort  Snelling  in  1819,  he  was  dis- 
charged about  1825  and  entered  the  Indian  trade.  Later  he  was  a  pio- 
neer lumberman,  printer,  legislator,  and  editor,  being  the  founder  of 
the  St.  Paul  Pioneer.  He  laid  out  the  town  of  Stillwater,  was  in  both 
the  Wisconsin  and  Minnesota  territorial  legislatures,  and  was  one  of 
the  best-known  men  of  the  region.  He  died  in  New  York  in  1870.  See 
Minn.  Hust.  Colls.,  iii,  pp.  201-212;  iv,  p.  41;  ix,  p.  179.— Ed. 

"Dickson  died  at  Drummond  Island,  July  20,  1823,  aged  fifty-five 
years. — Ed. 

M  For  a  brief  sketch  of  this  noted  chief  see  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  xviii, 
p.  446,  note  65;  a  document  in  Id,  xix,  p.  346,  proves  his  participation  in 
the  War  of  1812-15  on  the  British  side.— Ed. 

MFor  a  different  date  of  Souligny's  death  see  Id,  x,  p.  497— Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

Waupomasah,  nicknamed  Old  Sore-Eyes,  was  principal  chief 
of  the  Menominee  at  Lake  Shawano.  The  "Admired  Man"  is 
the  meaning  of  his  name.  He  was  out  in  the  War  of  1812,  and 
died  at  Keshena  about  1868,  fully  eighty  years  of  age. 

Iometah  died  about  the  same  year  that  Souligny  did — very 
aged  and  childish.  He  was  a  short,  thickset  man,  about  five 
feet  eight  inches,  an  excellent  Indian  in  character.34 

Poegonah,  generally  called  Big  Soldier,35  died  in  1834  or  1835 
nearly  ninety  years  of  age,  at  the  village  of  his  name  in  Calu- 
met County,  on  Lake  Winnebago,  nearly  opposite  the  mouth 
of  the  Black  Wolf.  From  earliest  life  he  had  gone  on  every 
war  expedition  with  his  people,  and  even  with  other  tribes. 
Once  he  was  out  in  a  campaign  against  the  Pawnee.  He  was 
the  tallest  man  among  the  Menominee,  fully  six  feet  four  inches, 
finely  proportioned,  and  was  known  for  his  tall  form  by  all  the 
nations  around.  He  always  wore  a  conspicuous  eagle  feather  on 
the  top  of  his  scalp-lock,  so  fitted  into  a  small  hollow  upright 
bone,  with  a  socket,  that  it  would  twirl  about  with  every  chang- 
ing breeze.  He  seemed  to  pride  himself  in  having  his  scalp- 
lock  nicely  trimmed  and  ornamented,  as  much  as  to  say  to  his 
enemies  in  war,  "Come  and  take  it  if  you  can!"  But  he  had 
an  abiding  faith  that  no  foe  would  ever  possess  it.  He  attended 
the  treaty  at  Green  Bay  in  1828,  where  a  drunken  soldier  acting 
as  sentinel  in  protecting  the  Indian  camp,  recklessly  ran  his 
bayonet  through  Poegonah 's  thigh.  The  old  chief  seized  the 
soldier,  disarmed  him  with  one  hand,  and  grabbing  him  by  the 
throat  with  the  other,  threw  him  to  the  ground,  calling  him  a 
dog,  and  alleging  that  if  he  were  an  enemy,  he  would  take  his 
life  for  his  insolence.  Colonel  Brooks,  the  commanding  officer 
of  the  troops,  had  the  reckless  soldier  whipped  in  the  presence 
of  the  Indians.36     Poegonah  went  out  on  the  Sauk  expedition  in 

31  See  Ibid,  pp.  497-499,  where  Dr.  Draper  gives  some  additional  state- 
ments from  Powell,  with  relation  to  this  chief. — Ed. 

•°  Compare  what  Augustin  Grignon  says  of  this  chief  in  Id,  iii, 
pp.  232,  294.— Ed. 

"There  was  no  treaty  at  Green  Bay  in  1828;  Powell  doubtless  refers 
to  that  of  1832,  which  the  Big  Soldier  signed.  At  that  time,  also,  Gen. 
George  E.  Brooke  of  the  5th  Infantry  was  commandant  at  Fort  How- 
ard.— Ed. 


Powell's  Recollections 

1832,  but  said  that  it  was  only  child's  play,  although  it  would 
serve  to  give  the  young  warriors  some  little  experience.  So  in 
the  skirmish  near  Cassville37  he  did  not  discharge  his  gun,  but 
rushed  among  the  combatants  to  show  his  fearlessness. 

He  left  two  sons,  both  large  men,  Sacketook  and  Wiskeno  (or 
The  Bird) — the  former  was  a  chief  and  good  Indian.  Both 
have  passed  away. 

Grizzly  Bear38  (Kotskaunoniew),  a  very  large,  fleshy  Indian, 
the  orator  of  the  Menominee,  was  smart  and  intelligent  and 
prided  himself  on  being  the  white  man's  friend.  He  went  to 
Washington  with  Stambaugh39  and  stayed  during  the  winter 
of  1830-31.  On  his  return  from  this  trip,  where  he  had  been, 
shown  everything  grand  and  magnificent,  he  was  asked  what 
had  made  the  most  marked  impression  on  his  mind.  He  re- 
plied that  the  grandest  sight  he  had  ever  witnessed  was  a  large 
prairie  on  fire  on  a  dark  night — to  see  the  flames  jumping  and 
running  like  lightning,  and  sending  their  glare  and  flashes  to 
the  very  skies. 

When  on  the  Hudson  River  steamer  from  New  York  to  Al- 
bany, there  was  quite  a  large  party  aboard.  Among  the  num- 
ber was  a  fashionable  young  lady,  who  expressed  to  the  inter- 
preter a  wish  to  kiss  Grizzly  Bear,  to  which  that  warrior  readily 
assented.  When  the  kiss  had  been  taken  and  the  young  lady 
retired,  some  of  his  friends  rallied  the  old  chief,  saying  that  the 
young  lady  must  have  fallen  in  love  with  him.  He  replied  that 
that  was  not  her  motive — she  simply  wished  to  have  it  to  say 
that  she  had  kissed  a  brave  and  noted  Indian  chief.  He  had 
clear  ideas  of  the  whites,  was  of  a  commanding  appearance,  and 
died  a  few  years  after  the  Sauk  War,  perhaps  somewhat  more 
than  sixty  years  of  age. 

Pewautenot's  son  Waunako  was  a  pretty  smart  Indian  and 
a  great  speaker.     He  belonged  to  the  band  on  Menominee  River, 

87  See  post. — Ed. 

•'Compare  Grignon's  account,  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  iii,  p.  284;  see  also 
Id,  ii,  p.  434.  His  name  in  French  was  Oraisse  d'Ours  which  signifies 
Bears'  Fat;  the  denomination  "Grizzly"  appears  to  be  a  misinterpreta- 
tion— no  grizzly  bears  having  had  a  Wisconsin  habitat. — Ed. 

"  Samuel  C.  Stambaugh  was  for  a  short  time  Indian  agent  at  Green 
Bay;  see  Id,  xi,  p.  392;  also  xii,  xv,  passim. — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

and  has  been  dead  several  years.  The  present  chief  Keshena  is 
his  nephew. 

Oshkosh40  possessed,  in  a  remarkable  degree,  a  knowledge  of 
the  traditions  of  his  people.  He  was  a  man  of  strong  sense 
and  died  at  Keshena,  Shawano  County,  August  15,  1858.  He 
requested  his  tribe,  when  he  died,  to  bury  him  in  a  sitting  pos- 
ture, with  his  pipe,  tobacco  pouch,  gun  and  powder-horn,  and 
pouch,  one  beaver  steel  trap,  and  a  rat  trap,  so  that  he  might 
be  properly  equipped  when  he  arrived  in  the  good  hunting 

Ahconemay,  his  oldest  son,  was  to  take  his  place  as  head 
chief  of  the  tribe  after  his  death,  and  he  was  so  considered  by 
the  tribe,  until  he  was  suspended  by  the  Indian  agent  for  kill- 
ing Augustin  Grignon  Jr.41  Even  after  his  suspension  the  tribe 
still  regarded  him,  as  they  had  his  father,  head  chief  of  the  tribe. 

Oshkahenawniew,  or  The  Young  Man,  was  Oshkosh 's  only 
brother.  He  was  small  in  stature,  abusive  and  bitter  in  his 
speech.  He  died  about  1867,  and  two  of  his  sons  are  still  liv- 

Charley  Carron  is  the  son  of  Josette,43  who  was  recognized  by 
Governor  Cass  at  the  treaty  at  Little  Butte  des  Morts  in  1827 
as  the  second  chief  of  the  Menominee.  Charley  was  in  my  em- 
ploy as  clerk  from  1841  until  1845,  while  I  was  trading  on  Fox 
River,  two  miles  above  Omro.  When  he  left  my  employ  he 
went  and  settled  where  Omro  now  is;  he  pre-empted  the  land, 
but  sold  out  in  1847,  and  moved  to  Mukwa  on  the  Wolf  River. 

40  For  this  chief  see  Id,  iii,  iv,  passim. — Ed. 

a  This  event  occurred  in  1861.  Augustin  Grignon  Jr.  was  a  half-breed 
Bon  of  the  elder  Augustin,  and  was  employed  in  the  fur-trade.  He  was 
kilted  by  Oshkosh's  eldest  son  because  he  refused  to  allow  him  to 
drink  in  his  cabin.  Ahconemay  (Aconnamie)  was  tried  and  sentenced 
to  state  prison;  but  after  a  year  or  more  he  was  pardoned  by  the  gov- 
ernor and  returned  to  the  reservation  in  Shawano  County. — Ed. 

"This  chief  was  about  seven  or  eight  years  younger  than  Oshkosh, 
and  took  part  with  the  Menominee  in  most  of  their  activities;  see  Wis. 
Hist.  Colls.,  iii,  passim,. — Ed. 

"Charley  Carron,  well-educated  and  of  fine*  physique,  was  a  noted 
leader  of  the  half-breeds  in  dare-devil  exploits.  See  R.  G.  Thwaites, 
"History  of  Winnebago  County,"  in  Oshkosh  Times  for  1876. — Ed. 

[  162  ] 

Powells  Recollections 

He  was  in  the  Indian  trade  at  that  place  until  1854,  when  he 
moved  to  Grand  Rapids.  While  he  was  in  trade  he  had  several 
narrow  escapes  from  being  killed  by  Indians ;  was  shot  at 
three  or  four  times,  and  stabbed  as  many  times  with  a  knife. 
He  has  stabbed  several  of  the  Indians  himself.  He  is  still  liv- 
ing, spending  most  of  his  time  at  Grand  Rapids  and  Plover  on 
the  "Wisconsin. 

The  Indian  called  The  Rubber,  I  knew  well;  Augustin 
Grignon  has  correctly  portrayed  him.44  He  was  of  a  boasting 
disposition,  fond  of  representing  himself  as  a  hero  of  exploits 
of  which  no  one  else  had  any  knowledge;  especially  claiming 
to  have  pre-eminently  befriended  the  Americans  and  the 
American  cause,  when  others  were  aiding  the  British.  This  was 
to  gain  favor  in  the  eyes  of  the  American  military  officers,  in 
the  shape  of  a  frequent  friendly  dram.  The  Rubber  was  also 
accustomed  to  claim  gifts  from  the  old  settlers  at  the  Bay,  on 
pretence  that  he  was  the  owner  of  the  territory;  but  the  other 
Indians  would  laugh  at  his  pretence  to  either  the  ownership  of 
land  or  to  prominence.  He  died  about  1839,  somewhere  along 
the  shore  of  Green  Bay,  perhaps  at  Grass  Point,  some  eight  or 
nine  miles  below  Green  Bay.  It  was  at  a  time  when  a  large 
number  of  the  Indians  were  encamped  there  with  the  cholera, 
and  they  were  prohibited  from  coming  up  to  Green  Bay.  Dr. 
Crane,45  who  yet  resides  at  Green  Bay,  was  employed  by  the 
government  to  attend  them,  and  I  used  to  accompany  him  on 
his  daily  visits  as  interpreter.  The  doctor  left  a  quantity  of 
mustard  with  the  Indians,  with  directions  to  put  a  plaster  of  it 
over  the  breast  of  any  one  attacked  with  the  disease.  The  next 
day  when  he  visited  the  camp,  we  were  surprised  not  to  see  a 
solitary  person  stirring  anywhere.  "Are  the  poor  fellows  all 
dead?"  we  enquired  of  each  other.  But  on  entering  the  wig- 
wams, every  Indian,  old  and  young,  was  found  spread  flat  upon 
his  back,  covered  with  a  mustard  plaster.  All  had  resorted  to 
it,  as  a  precaution  against  the  dread  disease,   of  which  large 

"See  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  iii,  pp.  280,  281.— Ed. 

"The  date  must  have  been  later,  for  Dr.  C.  E.  Crane  did  not  settle 
In  Green  Bay  until  1846.  He  was  born  in  Ohio,  1827,  and  died  at 
Green  Bay  1897.  During  the  War  of  Secession  he  was  surgeon  for  the 
5th  Wisconsin,  and  later  mayor  of  his  adopted  city  (1874-79). — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

numbers  of  them  had  died — I  think  The  Rubber  was  among 

Most  of  these  prominent  Menominee  chiefs  were  members  of 
the  Catholic  church,  and  the  dates  of  their  deaths  must  be  on 
record  at  the  mission ;  but  there  is  no  priest  there  now.  Maybe 
the  Indian  agents  kept  some  record  of  their  deaths ;  but  I  hardly 
think  that  probable. 

As  late  as  1830,  quite  a  number  of  Menominee,  several  chiefs 
among  them,  went  to  Drummond  Island46  and  got  British 
presents,  guns,  traps,  brass  kettles,  ammunition,  etc.  Col. 
[George]  Boyd,  the  American  Indian  agent,47  on  learning  of 
this  fact,  warned  the  chiefs  that  if  any  of  them  went  there  again 
their  medals  would  be  taken  away  from  them,  and  they  would 
no  longer  have  any  claim  upon  the  American  government.  This 
firm  action  on  the  part  of  the  colonel  had  the  desired  effect  of 
breaking  off  the  British  influence. 

At  this  time  [1877],  the  tribe  numbers  about  1350  souls. 

Black  Hawk  War 

In  1832,  when  the  Sauk  War  broke  out,  4S  General  Atkinson" 
sent  Col.  William  S.  Hamilton50  with  instructions  to  the  Indian 
agent,  Colonel  Boyd,  to  enlist  the  Menominee  and  appoint 
proper  commanding  officers.  Col.  C.  S.  Stambaugh,  who  had 
formerly  been  connected  with  the  Indian  service,  and  then  re- 
sided at  Green  Bay,  was  selected  to  command  the  Menominee^ 
who  were  480  in  number,  divided  into  companies.  Augustin 
Grignon  was  captain  of  one,  with  Charles  A.  Grignon  his  son, 
for  first-lieutenant,  and  George  Grignon  his  nephew,  second-lieut- 

**  For  a  sketch  of  the  British  post  on  Drummond  Island  see  Wis.  Hist. 
Colls.,  xix,  p.  146,  note  94.  The  post  was  removed  in  1828.  For  the 
prolonged  British  influence  over  the  tribes  on  American  soil  see  Id, 
xx,  passim. — Ed. 

47  For  this  person  see  Id,  xii,  pp.  266-269.— Ed. 

"For  papers  on  the  Green  Bay  contingent  in  the  Black  Hawk  War, 
Bee  Id,  ill,  pp.  293-295;  xii,  pp.  217-298.— Ed. 

49  For  Gen.  Henry  Atkinson  consult  Id,  i,   ii,  iv,  passim. — Ed. 

WA  biographical  sketch  of  William  S.  Hamilton  is  given  in  Id,  xii, 
pp.  270,  271.— Ed. 


Powells  Recollections 

•enant.  George  Johnston  commanded  the  other  company,  with 
William  Powell  first,  and  Robert  Grignon  second-lieutenant, 
while  James  M.  Boyd,  a  young  son  of  Colonel  Boyd,  was  third- 
lieutenant  and  secretary  of  the  company.  Alexander  Irwin  was 

We  went  to  Fort  Winnebago  by  land.  There  Stambaugh  re- 
ceived word  from  General  Atkinson  of  the  Bad  Axe  affair32  and 
an  order,  since  the  war  was  now  virtually  ended,  directing  him 
to  return  to  Green  Bay  and  disband  the  Menominee.  The  latter 
were  very  desirous  of  going  to  Prairie  du  Chien,  as  they  had' 
some  relatives  and  friends  residing  there,  and  they  probably 
had  some  curiosity  to  go  to  headquarters  and  learn  all  they 
could  about  the  war.  So  Stambaugh  sent  Robert  Grignofi  and 
me  with  dispatches  to  meet  Gen.  [Winfield]  Scott,  who  was 
expected  at  Prairie  du  Chien,  and  make  known  this  earnest 
wish  of  the  Menominee ;  and  say  that  he  would  march  in  that 
direction.  From  the  Blue  Mounds,  Grignon  returned  accord- 
ing to  instructions,  while  I  continued  on  alone  to  Prairie  du 
Chien,  where  General  Scott  had  just  arrived  on  board  of  a 
steamboat.  I  delivered  to  him  the  dispatches,  and  he  sent  me 
back  with  dispatches  to  Stambaugh.  Information  had  just 
reached  General  Scott  at  the  very  time  I  appeared,  that  a  hos- 
tile party  of  Sauk  and  Foxes,  said  to  be  a  hundred  in  number, 
were  wending  their  way  clown  the  Mississippi  by  land.  So 
General  Scott  concluded  to  gratify  the  Menominee  and  di- 
rected Stambaugh  and  his  Indians  to  repair  to  Brunet's  Ferry, 
at  Little  Rock,  a  few  miles  above  the  mouth  of  the  Wisconsin,53 
and  thence  proceed  to  intercept  those  Sauk  and  Foxes.  This 
permission  gratified  the  Menominee.     I  overtook  tbe  party  about 

"See  Ibid,  p.  278,  note  1.— Ed. 

02  See  Ibid,  pp.  257-261.— Ed. 

03  Brunet's  Ferry,  which  for  many  years  has  been  in  disuse,  had  its 
southern  end  in  Grant  County  (section  14,  range  6  west,  township  6 
north),  and  crossed  the  Wisconsin  in  a  northwest  direction.  It  was  es- 
tablished in  1837  under  license  from  the  territorial  legislature  by  Jean 
Brunet,  a  French-Canadian  of  Prairie  du  Chien,  and  was  on  the  mili- 
tary road  from  Fort  Winnebago  to  Fort  Crawford.  Probably,  however, 
Brunet  had  lived  at  this  place  for  some  years  previous  to  securing  a 
license,  and  was  in  the  habit  of  aiding  travellers  across  the1  river. — Ed. 

[165  ] 

Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

forty  miles  above  Prairie  du  Chien.  On  reaching  Brunet's 
Ferry,  Lieutenant  Boyd  and  I  were  sent  to  Prairie  du  Chien 
for  provisions  and  any  later  news  about  the  hostile  party.  Aug- 
ustin  Grignon  is  mistaken  in  saying  that  Col.  William  S.  Ham- 
ilton had  anything  to  do  with  this  expedition,  for  he  had  not, 
and  was  not  along. 

Among  the  Menominee  chiefs  was  Ahkamotte — not  La  Motte, 
as  Grignon  has  it — selected  by  the  Indians  on  this  expedition  as 
their  prophet,  and  he  held  powwows  every  night  to  determine 
where  the  enemy  were. 

Colonel  Stambaugh  with  a  hundred  warriors  and  six  chiefs — 
Oshkosh,  Grizzly  Bear,  Pewautenot,  Souligny,  Ahkamotte,  and 
Poegonah — started  to  pursue  the  hostiles.  They  struck  the 
trail  and  followed  it,  expecting  it  would  lead  to  the  river  not 
far  below  the  mouth  of  the  Wisconsin ;  but  it  bore  off  from  the 
river.  Lieutenants  Powell  and  Boyd,  with  the  remainder  of  the 
Indians,  some  200  in  number,  except  those  sick  and  sorefooted, 
were  ordered  to  go  direct  to  the  Mississippi  and  follow  its  bank, 
to  intercept  the  enemy  should  they  attempt  to  cross  that  river. 
There  were  no  prominent  chiefs  with  Powell  and  Boyd;  all  had 
gone  with  Stambaugh,  thinking  that  he  would  have  the  expected 
fight,  and  reap  the  honors.     Each  of  these  parties  kept  out  spies. 

About  five  miles  back  of  Cassville,r>4  in  the  interior,  the  next 
day  after  leaving  Brunet's  Ferry  in  pursuit,  they  found  the 
enemy  camped  by  a  little  stream  between  four  and  five  o'clock 
in  the  afternoon.  The  Sauk  and  Foxes  had  had  four  days  the 
start,  but  made  slow  progress,  as  they  had  to  stop  and  hunt  for 
their  living.  The  hostiles  would  keep  on  the  trail  for  a  few 
miles,  then  would  scatter  awhile,  then  reunite  and  go  on  together 
again.  Robert  Grignon,  Sacketook  (son  of  Poegonah)  and  two 
others  were  in  advance  spying,  and  discovered  the  enemy  in  a 
hollow,  cooking  their  venison.  They  returned  and  thus  re- 
ported. The  Indians  were  formed  into  four  parties — one  led 
by  Augustin  Grignon  and  the  Prophet,  with  Oshkosh  and  Poe- 
gonah ;  another  party  by  Robert  Grignon ;  Alexander  Irwin  led 
another;  and  Lieut.  C.  A.  Grignon  the  fourth.     Captain  Johns- 

84  The  only  other  printed  description  of  the  battle  of  Cassville  known 
to  us;  is  that  of  Grignon  in  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  iii,  pp.  293-295.— Ed. 


Powell's  Recollections 

ton  and  Colonel  Stambaugh  remained  with  the  Prophet's  party 
— Johnston  because  he  was  somewhat  advanced  in  years.05 

Just  before  starting,  about  half  a  mile  from  the  hostile  camp, 
Stambaugh  made  a  brief  speech  to  the  Indians,  saying  to  them : 
"Take  prisoners.  Your  Great  Father  will  give  you  more  for 
one  prisoner  than  he  would  for  a  dozen  scalps;"  and  he  charged 
the  officers  to  enforce  this  order.  Grizzly  Bear  responded  in 
Menominee,  Charles  A.  Grignon  interpreting:  "Tell  our  Father 
here  that  the  Great  Spirit  saw  proper  to  put  a  switch  in  the 
hands  of  our  Sauk  and  Fox  enemies  to  chastise  us  last  year, 
which  they  did  at  Prairie  du  Chien,  killing  a  good  many  of 
our  people.  Now  he  has  seen  proper  to  put  that  same  switch 
into  our  hands  to-day,  which  I  cannot  prevent  my  young  war- 
riors from  using.  Tell  our  Father  also,  that  since  we  left 
Green  Bay  we  have  been  obedient  children  to  all  his  commands;] 
but  in  this  matter  about  not  taking  scalps,  we  must  be  excused 
if  we  fail  to  regard  it." 

The  Prophet  had  a  large,  valuable  wampum  belt,  seven  feet 
long  and  a  foot  and  a  half  wide,  very  heavy;  it  must  have  cost 
fully  $70,  being  made  of  stone  wampum  beads,  alternately  grey 
and  white,  from  Van  Dieman's  Land.  This  was  to  be  the  re- 
ward for  the  first  scalp  to  lie  brought  to  the  Prophet.  He  also 
had  a  flute  upon  which  he  was  to  blow  a  shrill,  loud  whistle  as  a 
signal  for  the  several  parties  to  raise  the  war-whoop  when  they 
had  taken  the  places  assigned  them,  completely  surrounding 
the  enemy.  When  the  signal  was  given,  and  the  war-whoop 
raised,  they  were  but  a  quarter  of  a  mile  from  the  Sauk  camp, 
and  it  was  but  a  few  moments  till  the  whole  were  rushing  down 
upon  them,  whooping  and  hallooing.  One  of  the  Sauk  fired, 
but  without  effect,  save  to  hit  off  the  breech  of  the  gun  of 
Saunapow,  or  The  Ribbon.  The  latter  quickly  returned  the 
fire,  killing  him,  when  several  ran  to  get  the  scalp ;  but  Sauna- 
pow got  the  main  scalp,  and  others  some  smaller  scalps.  Then 
there  was  a  race  for  the  Prophet,  but  Saunapow  won  and  re- 
ceived the  prize  belt,  the  Prophet  keeping  the  scalp,  and  thank- 
ing the  young  warrior  for  a  valuable  gift.  Some  of  the  Sauk 
women  and  four  or  five  children  seeing  that  Robert  Grignon 

61  For  a  brief  sketch  of  this  person  see  Id,  xx. — Ed. 

[167  ] 

Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

was  a  white  man  and  approaching  the  nearest,  ran  toward  him 
and  threw  themselves  at  his  feet  for  protection.  Among  these 
was  a  young  warrior,  about  seventeen  years  old,  who  dropped 
his  gun,  seeing  the  hopelessness  of  the  unequal  contest,  and 
ran  mixing  in  with  the  women,  and  Robert  Grignon  protected 
him.  Meanwhile  some  of  the  Sauk  and  Foxes  ran  and  hid  be- 
hind some  boulders  near  by,  and  one  of  these  was  firing  from 
behind  a  boulder,  about  half  way  up  the  hill,  when  Grignon 
started  after  him,  with  a  Menominee  close  beside  him.  The 
concealed  Sauk  fired,  apparently  intending  to  shoot  the  Me- 
nominee, but  the  bullet  struck  Robert  Grignon,  hitting  a  rib,  and 
coursed  around,  lodging  in  the  small  of  the  back.  About  the 
same  moment  Grignon  received  the  fire  of  another  Indian,  two 
buckshot  entering  his  left  shoulder.  "Whereupon  the  Menom- 
inee rushed  up  and  shot  the  one  who  first  wounded  Grignon, 
killed  him,  and  hacked  him  up,  and  kept  at  him  till  there  was 
little  left  of  him. 

Among  the  Sauk  was  a  Winnebago  with  whom  some  of  the 
Menominee  in  Calumet  had  intermarried,  and  recognized  his  na- 
tionality. He  held  up  his  hands  and  prayed  for  mercy  in  the 
Winnebago  language;  whereupon  a  lame  Menominee,  Okeemon- 
sah,  or  Little  Chief,  ran  up,  and  said :  ' '  I  have  been  many  times 
to  war,  and  from  my  lameness  was  always  a  little  too  late ;  now 
I  will  not  return  without  a  scalp;  you  can  be  no  good  Winne- 
bago to  be  with  our  enemies."  Thereupon  he  gave  him  a 
sudden  stab  with  his  spear,  when  he  fell,  and  the  Menominee 
seized  his  scalp  lock,  whereupon  the  Winnebago  seized  him  by 
the  hand  on  his  scalp;  but  with  the  free  hand  Okeemonsah 
quickly  encircled  his  head,  gave  him  a  kick  in  the  back  of  the 
neck,  and  stripped  off  the  scalp,  and  the  poor  victim,  just  after 
another  Menominee  had  walked  up  and  shot  him  through  the 
head,  soon  expired. 

Augustin  Grignon,  naturally  very  tender-hearted,  walked  up, 
and  was  much  touched  with  such  savage  conduct;  a  tear 
was  observed  by  Grizzly  Bear  to  trickle  down  Grignon 's 
cheek — Grizzly  Bear  was  an  uncommonly  large  Indian,  over 
six  feet,  a  brawny  man,  weighing  fully  250  pounds.  He  said 
to  Grignon,  "What  are  you  crying  for?  Was  this  fellow  one 
of  your  kindred?     If  not,  you  had  better  go  home  and  join  the 


Powell's  Recollections 

squaws,  who  alone  indulge  in  weeping."  Grignon  gave  the 
old  chief  a  lefthand  blow  across  the  mouth,  replying  that  no 
brave  warrior  would  indulge  in  such  a  horrid  carnage;  that  he 
should  be  satisfied  after  having  killed  his  f oe ;  "  now ' ',  he  cried, 
"since  you  are  so  brave  a  man,  resent  this,  and  defend  your- 
self," giving  him  another  blow.  But  Grizzly  Bear,  though  as 
well  armed  as  Grignon,  refrained  from  returning  blows.  Three 
other  Indians  were  killed  in  the  melee,  and  a  small  child  on 
its  mother's  back  was  shot  through  the  body  between  the 
shoulders,  the  ball  lodging  in  the  mother's  clothing.  She  did 
not  discover  that  the  child  was  dead,  or  even  hit,  till  after 
the  affair  was  over. 

The  skirmish  lasted  but  a  few  minutes — the  Sauk  keeping  the 
Menominee  at  bay,  by  getting  behind  the  rocks  and  boulders. 
Eighteen  women  were  taken  prisoners,  a  boy  some  eight  years 
old,  and  three  or  four  younger  children. 

Just  as  the  affair  was  over,  Colonel  Stambaugh  came  up.  and 
wished  to  shake  hands  with  the  chiefs.  Grizzly  Bear  wanted 
to  know  what  the  colonel  wanted  to  shake  hands  for — it  was 
only  a  few  minutes  ago  that  they  parted.  Stambaugh  ex- 
plained, however,  that  he  wished  to  do  it  to  express  his  pleasure 
at  their  success ;  but  he  had  no  word  to  say  about  the  scalps. 

Boyd  and  I,  with  our  party,  heard  the  distant  firing,  and 
were  approaching  to  take  part.  Between  the  river  and  the  battle- 
ground, we  met  four  Menominee  carrying  by  hand  Robert  Grig- 
non on  a  litter  of  a  blanket  stretched  between  two  poles — mean- 
ing to  watch  an  opportunity  to  get  some  sort  of  water  convey- 
ance to  Prairie  du  Chien.  My  whole  party  then  returned  to 
Brunet's  Ferry,  two  Indians  taking  Grignon  up  in  a  canoe 
which  they  got  from  some  settler;  and  the  young  Sauk  lad, 
who  was  taken  prisoner,  went  up  with  them. 

On  the  way  to  Brunet's  Ferry,  my  party  and  Stambaugh 's 
met  and  went  on  together,  reaching  Brunet's  the  next  day. 
But  the  night  after  the  fight,  Stambaugh  and  party  stopped  at  a 
little  village  where  they  met  General  Dodge  and  Colonel  Hamil- 
ton, without  soldiers,  these  having  been  disbanded  after  the  battle 
of  Bad  Axe.  They  got  plenty  of  liquor,  for  Dodge  and  Hamil- 
ton were  treating  the  Indians  freely.  The  latter  indulged  in 
great  boasting1  as  to  who  took  the  most  scalps;  by  their  repre- 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

sentation,  one  would  have  thought  that  a  great  battle  had  been 
fought,  and  hundreds  of  scalp  trophies  taken. 

After  reaching  Brunet's  Ferry,  all  the  prisoners  were  as- 
signed to  me  to  convey  without  any  guard  to  the  fort  at  Prairie 
du  Chien,  seven  miles  distant.  When  about  half  way  there,  I 
met  Wistweaw,  the  Blacksmith,  somewhat  in  liquor.  He  was 
one  of  those  who  had  conveyed  Robert  Grignon  in  a  canoe  to 
Prairie  du  Chien,  and  approached  us  begging  the  privilege  of 
killing  the  young  Sauk  and  taking  his  scalp  home,  so  that  he 
could  say  he  had  a  war  trophy — otherwise  he  would  have  noth- 
ing to  relate,  only  cooking  pork  and  dough-boys.  But  I  refused, 
saying  that  the  prisoners  were  confided  to  me  to  take  and  de- 
liver at  the  fort.  Still  the  Indian  plead,  and  finally  made  a 
lunge  with  his  knife  at  the  young  Indian  who  was  close  to  me, 
but  the  latter  saw  the  action  in  time  to  dodge  the  blow.  Then 
the  Blacksmith  was  compelled  to  desist,  but  ever  afterwards  he 
lamented  his  great  misfortune  in  failing  to  secure  that  scalp. 

When  the  news  reached  Prairie  du  Chien  of  the  prisoners 
taken  near  Cassville,  the  women  of  the  Menominee  band  residing 
at  the  Prairie,  some  of  whose  husbands  and  brothers  had  been 
killed  by  the  Sauk  and  Foxes  the  year  before,  came  to  Brunet's 
Ferry,  seven  miles,  to  seek  revenge.  These  squaws,  to  the  num- 
ber of  about  twenty,  arranged  themselves  on  each  side  of  the 
path.  When  Stambaugh's  party  and  prisoners  crossed  at  the 
ferry  and  landed  on  the  north  side,  Oshkosh  in  particular  sug- 
gested that  these  Menominee  women  be  examined  to  see  whether 
they  had  any  weapons  with  which  they  could  injure  the  Sauk 
squaws.  Upon  search  being  made,  several  of  them  were  found 
to  have  small  tomahawks  and  knives  concealed  under  their 
clothing.  These  were  taken  from  them.  But  as  the  Sauk  pris- 
oners passed  between  the  rows  of  Menominee  women,  the  latter 
availed  themselves  of  an  Indian  custom  for  each  to  touch  the 
prisoners  as  they  passed.  Some  barely  touched  them  tenderly 
with  the  tips  of  their  fingers,  while  others  seized  them  by  their 
hair  and  shook  and  jerked  them  about  without  mercy.  The  Sauk 
women  were  rejoiced  to  get  off  without  worse  treatment.  They 
were  kept  in  duress  a  short  time  in  the  garrison  at  Prairie  du 
Chien,  then  sent  down  to  Rock  Island,  and  soon  after  discharged. 

After  a  few  days  of  recruiting  and  preparation,  the  Menom- 


Powell's  Recollections 

inee  returned  home,  scattering  from  Butte  cles  Morts.  Robert 
Grignon  remained  some  time  in  the  hospital  at  Prairie  du  Chien. 
Doctor  Beaumont"'0  easily  extracted  the  buckshot  from  his 
shoulder;  but  the  ball  in  his  back  could  not  with  safety  be 
taken  out.  Grignon  drew  a  pension  of  $15  per  month  and 
lived  till  he  froze  to  death,  near  his  own  house,  not  far  from 
Christmas,  about  twelve  years  ago.57 

Makata  Mishekakah,  or  the  Black  Falcon,  was  the  name  the 
Sauk  and  Foxes  gave  Col.  Zaehary  Taylor.  Ahchechawk,  or  the 
White  Crane,  was  their  name  for  General  Scott.  Black  Hawk 
claimed  that  he  surrendered  himself,  as  he  had  heard  that  in 
case  he  did  so,  all  the  prisoners  would  be  released.  On  reaching 
Prairie  du  Chien,  Colonel  Taylor  brought  out  handcuffs  to  put 
on  him.  "Why  do  you  want  to  put  the  handcuffs  on  me  when 
I  have  given  myself  up  and  can 't  get  away ;  I  had  expected 
better  treatment  from  the  Black  Falcon."  Taylor  replied  that 
it  was  not  his  wish  to  do  so,  and  that  he  was  sorry  so  to  treat 
him;  but  he  was  himself  but  a  small  chief,  and  had  to  obey  the 
orders  of  his  superiors;  and  these  were  the  orders  of  the  big 
chief,  the  White  Crane.  Then  Black  Hawk  said  that  he  had 
supposed  the  Black  Falcon  was  too  humane  to  treat  him  thus; 
but  as  these  were  the  orders  of  the  White  Crane,  then  do  so — 
whereupon  he  extended  his  hands  and  received  the  handcuffs. 

At  the  treaty  at  Rock  Island,  General  Scott  had  Black  Hawk 
degraded  from  his  chieftainship  and  Keokuk  appointed  in  his 
place.  Keokuk  rose  and  addressed  Black  Hawk,  saying  that 
this  was  not  of  his  own  seeking,  that  he  regretted  Black  Hawk's 
degradation ;  but  the  latter  had,  contrary  to  his  advice,  plunged 
himself  and  people  into  the  war,  and  the  Great  Father  had 
taken  the  chieftainship  from  him.  Then  Black  Hawk  addressed 
General  Scott,  asking  why  he  who  had  not  conferred  this  honor 
upon  him.  could  have  the  power  to  deprive  him  of  it.     Pointing 

"For  Dr.  William  Beaumont  see  Id,  xv,  p.  397,  note  4. — Ed. 

"  Robert  Grignon  was  the'  eldest  son  of  Pierre  Antoine,  himself  the 
eldest  of  the  Grignon  brothers.  Robert  was  born  about  1804  at  Green 
Bay.  He  early  entered  the  fur-trade,  and  was  a  clerk  for  his  uncles, 
settling  first  at  Butte  des  Morts,  later  within  the  limits  of  Oshkosh.  He 
died  in  1864,  frozen  near  his  own  home,  having  become  bewildered  in  a 
storm. — Ed. 

12  [171] 

Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

his  finger  upward,  he  indicated  that  the  One  who  had  made 
him  a  chief  alone  could  unmake  him. 

Capt.  William  Powell 

"When  my  father  returned  from  Hudson  Bay  in  1822  and 
left  me  in  the  care  of  Captain  Alexander,  I  remained  with  him 
three  years  a,t  Fort  Snelling.  The  captain  being  sent  on  a  re- 
cruiting service  to  St.  Louis,  took  me  with  him,  and  during  his 
stay  there  sent  me  to  school  five  miles  from  Belle  Fontaine. 

I  remained  there  until  the  spring  of  1827,  when  I  came  to 
Rock  Island,  and  stayed  until  the  first  of  September,  1828, 
when  my  father  sent  for  me  and  I  came  home  to  Butte  des 
Morts.  When  I  arrived  where  Portage  City  now  is,  Major 
Twiggs  had  just  got  there  with  two  or  three  companies  of 
United  States  troops  to  commence  building  the  fort,  which  was 
called  Fort  "Winnebago.58  Twiggs  was  the  commanding  officer. 
Jefferson  Davis59  was  also  there,  just  from  West  Point;  he 
wTas  only  second-lieutenant  at  that  time. 

Two  years  later,  while  Lieutenant  Davis  was  stationed  at 
Fort  Winnebago,  Twiggs  still  commanding,  a  powerful  Ken- 
tuckian  named  Stewart,  a  carpenter  by  trade,  dwelt  there  as 
Daniel  M.  Whitney's  agent  in  transporting  boats  over  the  portage. 
There  was  a.  camp  of  Menominee  Indians  near  the  American 
Fur  Company 's  store,  where  Pierre  Paquette  lived,00  and  Stew- 
art went  over  one  day  with  a  tanned  deer  skin  to  get  some 
moccasins  made.  It  was  a  Sunday,  and  Davis  happening  to  be 
there,  ordered  him  off.  Stewart  intimated  that  he  had  as  much 
right  there  as  Davis  had,  and  that  he  should  go  when  he  got 
ready,  and  not  before.  Davis  felt  his  dignity  insulted,  and  gave 
Stewart  an  unexpected  and  heavy  blow.  Stewart  recovering, 
pitched  upon  Davis  and  gave  him  a  severe  whipping,  badly 
bruising  his  face  and  eyes.  I  was  then  a  clerk  in  the  store,  and 
Davis  had  me  get  a  chicken,  kill  it,  and  put  the  fresh  carcass  on 

68  See  account  of  this  event  and  a  sketch  of  Twiggs  in  Wis.  Hist. 
Colls.,  xiv,  pp.  65-76.— Ed. 

MOn   Davis  at  Fort  Winnebago  see  Ibid,  pp.   72-75;    also  Id,   viii- 
x,  xii,  xiii,  passim. — Ed. 

••  For  an  account  of  Pierre  Paquette  see  Id,  vii,  pp.  382-385. — Ed. 


Powell's  Recollections 

his  face,  to  prevent  the  bruises  Prom  leaving  their  discolored 
marks.  Stewart,  himself  brave,  was  persuaded  by  Mr.  Whitney, 
his  employer,  to  leave  for  Green  Bay,  lest  he  should  be  re- 
taliated on  by  Davis  or  his  friends,  and  he  subsequently 
returned  to  Kentucky. 

Except  for  a  short  time  at  the  Portage,  I  remained  with  my 
father  at  Butte  des  Morts  until  1832,  then  went  as  first-lieuten- 
ant in  the  Black  Hawk  War.  After  the  war,  1  returned  home 
and  went  into  partnership  with  Robert  Grignon  in  the  Indian 
trade.  We  established  our  trading  post  at  Algoma  in  the  fall 
of  1832,  and  continued  at  that  place  till  the  fall  of  1835,  when 
we  dissolved  our  copartnership  and  I  went  and  lived  with  my 
father  until  he  died. 

Treaties.  I  was  appointed  United  States  interpreter  for  the 
Menominee  in  1836.  The  same  year,  Gov.  Henry  Dodge  of 
Mineral  Point  was  appointed  commissioner  to  make  a  treaty 
with  the  Menominee ;  this  was  concluded  September  3,  1836. 61 
After  the  treaty  I  resigned  and  went  into  the  Indian  trade  on 
Fox  River,  two  miles  above  where  Omro  now  is,  and  continued 
to  trade  there  till  1846,  when  for  a  year  I  established  a  trading 
post  at  the  mouth  of  Shawano  Creek,  in  Shawano  County. 
Then  quitting  the  Indian  trade,  I  was  again  appointed,  in  1848, 
United  States  interpreter  and  in  that  capacity  served  at  the 
treaty  of  that  year.  Medill  was  the  commissioner  on  the  part 
of  the  Government  in  that  treaty,  wherein  the  Menominee  ceded 
all  of  their  country  that  they  owned  in  Wisconsin  for  $400,000. 
By  its  terms  the  Government  gave  them  for  their  future  home 
a  tract  of  500,000  acres  of  land  on  the  Crow  Wing  River,"2  150 
to  200  miles  above  St.  Paul.  They  were  to  remain  in  Wisconsin 
for  two  years  after  the  ratifk-ation  of  the  treaty,  and  then  to 
move  to  the  Crow  Wing.  At  the  same  time  the  Government 
agreed  to  furnish  $5,000  to  defray  the  expenses  of  a  delegation 
of  nine  chiefs  with  their  head  chief  Oshkosh  to  go  and  examine 
the  country,  before  removing  in  1850. 

Visit  to  Washington.  President  Taylor  instructed  Major 
Bruce,  Indian  agent  at  Green  Bay.  to  take  a  delegation  of  chiefs 

"Powell  was  sworn  interpreter  at  the*  Menominee  treaty  of  1836. — Ed. 
*  The  treaty  guaranteed  that  there  should  not  be  less  than  600,000 
acres  of  land  In  the  tract  assigned. — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

and  go  and  survey  the  land  alloted  them  on  the  Crow  Wing,  and 
after  doing  so  to  bring  the  same  delegation  to  Washington  and 
report.  I  accompanied  the  delegation  to  the  Crow  Wing,  and 
with  us  went  my  old  friend  Charles  Tullar,63  who  was  employed 
to  survey  the  tract.  He  did  not,  however,  go  on  with  us  to 
Washington,  as  he  had  more  important  business  that  required 
him  to  remain  at  Green  Bay.  Arriving  at  Washington  on  Sep- 
tember 4  we  remained  there  some  two  weeks  before  Oshkosh  with 
the  other  chiefs  could  get  an  interview  with  the  commissioner 
of  Indian  affairs.  There  were  at  the  federal  capital  represent- 
atives of  several  other  tribes  of  Indians,  who  had  business  with 
their  great  father,  the  president,  who  had  got  there  some  days 
ahead  of  us;  so  we  had  to  wait  till  our  turn  came.  When  the 
time  arrived,  our  Wisconsin  chiefs  were  notified  that  they  might 
come  and  see  their  great  father  and  talk  over  their  business 
with  him.  We  conducted  Chief  Oshkosh  and  the  rest  of  the 
Indians  to  the  commissioner's  office  at  about  9  o'clock  A.  M. 
Here  we  were  received  by  Chief -clerk  Charles  E.  Mix,  acting  in 
the  place  of  the  commissioner,  Mr.  Lowrey,  who  was  sick  at  the 
time.  After  a  short  talk,  Mr.  Mix  accompanied  the  delegation 
to  the  office  of  the  secretary  of  the  interior,  and  from  there  the 
latter  conducted  his  visitors  to  the  White  House.  After  the 
chiefs  were  seated  according  to  rank,  President  Fillmore,  accom- 
panied by  General  Scott,  entered  and  the  chiefs  were  presented 
and  shook  hands  with  both.  Chief  Oshkosh  recognized  General 
Scott,  for  he  had  seen  him  both  at  Green  Bay  and  at  the  treaty 
at  Prairie  du  Chien.  The  general  also  recollected  Oshkosh,  who 
was  a  small  man,  standing  only  about  five  feet.  When  he  shook 
hands  with  the  general,  Oshkosh  said:  "You  are  like  a  tall  pine 
tree,  and  myself  like  a  scrub-oak.  so  I  stand  under  your  branches 
to  protect  my  head  from  harm." 

The  interview  with  their  Great  Father  was  brief.     Oshkosh 

83  Charles  Tullar  was  born  in  1804  in  Vermont.  Coming  to  Green  Bay 
in  1830,  he  entered  the  employ  of  Daniel  Whitney  and  was  occupied  in 
lumbering,  mining,  surveying,  etc.  He  acted  as  sheriff  for  Brown 
County,  1836-43.  He  was  accustomed  to  say  that  the  happiest  days  of 
his  life  were  spent  with  William  Powell,  his  close  friend,  surveying  In- 
dian reservations.  The  latter  years  of  his  life*  were  employed  as  agent 
for  the  Whitney  estate.    He  died  at  Green  Bay  Oct.  20,  1874.— Ed. 


Powell's  Recollections 

stated  in  a  very  few  words  that  the  Crow  Wing  country  was 
not  what  it  had  been  represented  to  bis  tribe  by  Commissioner 
Medill,  who  made  the  treaty  of  1848 ;  and  that  the  tribe  did  not 
like  to  move  to  that  country  because  the  Indians  already  there 
were  continually  engaged  in  intertribal  war.  He  preferred,  he 
said,  a  home  somewhere  in  Wisconsin,  for  the  poorest  region  in 
"Wisconsin  was  better  than  that  of  the  Crow  Wing.  He  said 
that  the  latter  was  a  good  country  for  the  white  man,  for  he 
was  numerous  and  could  protect  himself  from  those  warlike 
tribes;  but  his  own  tribe  was  small,  and  he  wished  them  to  live 
in  peace  for  the  little  time  they  had  to  live.64 

The  latter  part  of  September  1  started  from  Washington  for 
Green  Bay  in  charge  of  the  delegation,  and  was  instructed  by 
the  department  to  stop  at  the  largest  Eastern  cities  a  few  days 
and  show  the  chiefs  the  principal  places  so  as  to  give  them  an 
idea  how  numerous  their  white  brothers  were.  We  stayed  a  week 
in  New  York  and  went  to  Barnum's  Museum  every  day.  Bar- 
num  invited  Oshkosh  and  his  chiefs  to  come  and  hear  the  great 
singer  Jenny  Lind,  but  Oshkosh  declined  the  invitation.  A  few 
of  the  younger  chiefs  went,  however,  but  when  they  were  asked 
by  tin1  other  chiefs  how  they  liked  the  singing,  they  replied  that 
she  made  a.  very  big  noise  and  then  a  little  noise.  The  white 
man  must  have  a  great  deal  more  money  than  he  needed,  to  pay 
so  much  to  hear  this  lady  sing. 

Henry  Merrell  errs  in  giving  the  name  of  Powell,  the  trader  at 
Green  Lake,  as  William.03  His  first  name  was  James,  and  he 
was  a  cousin  of  mine.  He  came  to  Green  Bay  about  1833,  and 
engaged  in  the  Indian  trade ;  in  1838  he  moved  west  of  the  Mis- 
sissippi, into  Iowa,  and  I  have  since  lost  track  of  him. 

M  Permission  was  given  to  the  Menominee  to  remain  in  Wisconsin, 
which  was  afterwards  confirmed  by  the  treaty  of  1854,  assigning  them 
a  reservation  in  Shawano  County. — Ed. 

66  See  Wis  Hist.  Colls.,  vii.  p.  387.— Ed. 

J175  1 

Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

John  B.  Dubay 

John  B.  Dubay66  was  son  of  a  Canadian,  whose  name  I  think 
was  Louis.67  He  came  here  early ;  his  first  wife  was  a  Menominee 
woman,  daughter  of  the  principal  chief  on  the  Menominee  River, 
named  Pewatenot,  and  mentioned  in  Grignon's  ''Narrative" 
as  serving  in  the  War  of  1812.  He  also  had  a  son  Louis,  who 
was  only  a  voyageur.  J.  B.  Dubay  was  at  least  four  years 
older  than  myself,  certainly  being  born  as  early  as  1806.  When 
a  young  man.  he  became  a  successful  trader  among  the  Chip- 
pewa. When  he  went  among  the  Indians,  he  would  pitch  his 
large  markee,  fit  it  up  neatly  with  folding  seats  and  a  showy 
carpet,  and  invite  the  Indians  there.  Its  attractive  appearance 
would  fix  their  attention,  they  would  feel  honored  by  the  atten- 
tion and  would  be  quite  sure  to  give  him  their  trade.  Dubay 
was  known  to  them  as  Oskaatawananee,  or  the  Flourishing 
Young  Trader. 

In  the  early  years  of  the  Territory  and  State,  he  was  fond  of 
going  to  Madison,  where  he  spent  his  money  freely,  and  would 
send  off  to  borrow  more.  Once  he  borrowed  of  me  while  I  was 
clerk  in  a.  store  of  the  American  Fur  Company  in  which  Dubay 
had  an  interest.  I  subsequently  asked  him  what  his  business 
was,  there.  "Why,"  said  he,  "I  am  a  log  member" — meaning 
a  lobby  member ;  he  liked  to  boast  that  his  company  at  the  cap- 
ital included  prominent  lawyers,  judges,  and  legislators. 

Once  I  was  reminding  him  that  he  had  neglected  to  be  pres- 
ent at  a  certain  Chippewa  treaty  and  secure  his  claim  for  cred- 
its to  Indians.  "Oh."  lie  replied,  "I  shall  not  be  too  late,  for 
the  payments  have  not  all  been  paid:  they  are  to  be  paid,"  he 
said,  "in  slant" — meaning  in  installments.  He  had,  he  said, 
sent  his  monster  (remonstrance)  to  the  Indian  department,  and 
lie  would  be  all  right.  But  he  lost  it.  He  was  fond  of  trying  to 
repeat  big  words,  but  would  invariably  make  ridiculous  work 
*>f  it. 

'•See  Ibid,  pp.  391,  400-402.  This  statement  of  Powell  is  an  addi- 
tion to  and  correction  of  Merrell's  narrative  concerning  Dubay,  and 
Draper's  statement  in  a  note  that  he  was  born  in  1810. — Ed. 

"  The  name  was  originally  DubSe.  Louis  was  living  in  Green  Bay 
as  late*  as  1836. — Ed. 


Powell's  Recollections 

Dubay  had  a  fine  appreciation  of  Indian  character.  He  knew 
well  how  to  gain  the  confidence  and  the  patronage  of  his  red 
brethren,  and  thus  acquired  a  considerable  influence  over  them. 
Had  he  had  a  good  education,  lie  would  have  made  his  mark  in 
the  world. 

In  killing  Reynolds,  he  was  advised  by  lawyers  that  he  had 
rights  that  he  should  protect,  and  he  thought  he  was  doing  only 
what  was  justifiable.  But  he  was  naturally  a  high-toned,  gen- 
erous-hearted man  ;  and  when  he  came  to  reflect  that  he  had 
taken  the  life  of  a  fellow  man.  though  acquitted  of  criminal  in- 
tent, it  preyed  upon  his  mind,  and  he  has  never  since  been  the 
man  he  was  before.  lie  now  (1877)  resides  above  Stevens 

Origin  and  Meaning  of  Indian  Names 

Ashkeoton  (town,  Brown  Co.) — The  Crier,  name  of  an  In- 

Assippun.  or  Ashippun  (town,  Dodge  Co.) — The  Raccoon. 

Brule  (river,  Douglas  Co.) — Burnt  timber;  Indian  word  We- 
saueota,  in  both  Menominee  and  Chippewa. 

Buffalo  (lake,  Marquette  Co.) — Pesahkeoconnee,  a  great  buf- 
falo range  in  early  times.  I  never  saw  any  buffalo  in  Wisconsin, 
nor  have  the  oldest  Menominee  in  their  day.  Iometah  and 
others  used  to  say  that  their  fathers  killed  and  drove  them  off. 

Butte  des  Morts  (lake  and  town,  Winnebago  Co.) — Pahqua- 
tenohsah  was  the  Indian  word  for  Little  Butte  des  Morts,  mean- 
ing small  mound  of  the  dead.  Maspahquatenoh  is  big  mound  of 
the  dead — "nob."  meaning  dead. 

Embarrass  (river,  tributary  to  Wolf) — Indian  word  was  Ok- 
quinoe  Saparo,  or  Boating  wood.  The  French  adopted  this  and 
called  it  La  Riviere  s' embarrass  (the  river  that  is  "embarrass- 
ed,'" or   interrupted,  by  driftwood). 

Kekoskee  (town.  Dodge  Co.) — Of  Winnebago  origin. 

Keshena  (town,  Shawano  Co.)  —  The  Scudding  Cloud,  named 
after  a  Menominee  chief  yet  living,  son  of  Josette,  second  chief, 
and  son-in-law  of  Pewatenot. 

Kewaskum  (town,  Washington  Co.) — Name  of  a  Menominee 
Indian,  The  Turner:  one  who  has  power  as  a  medicine  man  to 
turn  things  as  he  pleases. 

[177  ] 

Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

Kewaunee  (comity  and  town) — A  specie  of  duck. 

Koshkonong  (town,  Rock  Co.) — Not  Menominee;  probably  Po- 
tawatomi  in  origin. 

Manitowoc  (county  and  town) — Place  of  spirits. 

Markesan  (village,  Green  Lake  Co.) — Probably  a  Winnebago 

Maskee — Indian  word  for  marsh. 

Mazomanie  (town,  Dane  Co.) — Place  of  iron  deposits,  a  "Win- 
nebago word. 

Meeme  (town,  Manitowoc  Co.) — The  Pigeon. 

Menominee — thus  Captain  Powell  spells  the  name.  The  plural 
is  Omahnominewowk,  or  Wild  Rice  People,  as  they  call  them- 
selves. They  still  harvest  wild  rice  in  Shawano  Lake  and  other 
lakes  above,  but  do  not  use  it  to  the  same  extent  as  formerly. 

Mishicott  (town,  Manitowoc  Co.) — Hairy  Leg. 

Mukwonago,  or  Maquonigo  (town,  Waukesha  Co.) — Of  Pota- 
Avatomi  origin. 

Nashotah  (town,  Waukesha  Co.) — Twin,  a  Potawatomi  word. 

Necedah  (town,  Juneau  Co.) — Winnebago  word. 

Neosho  (town,  Dodge  Co.) — Either  Winnebago  or  Potawatomi 

Neshkoro  (town,  Marquette  Co.) — Winnebago  word. 

Oconomowoc  (county  and  town) — Probably  Potawatomi. 

Oconto  (county  and  town) — The  place  of  the  pickerel. 

Okee  (town,  Columbia  Co.) — Winnebago  word. 

Ozaukee  (county) — The  Sauks. 

Paekwaukee,  or  Pakwaukea  (town,  Marquette  Co.) — The 
Mound,  a  natural  elevation. 

Pensaukee  (river  and  town,  Oconto  Co.) — The  place  of  the 
brant — a  species  of  small  wild  geese. 

Peshtigo,  properly  Pasheteco  (town,  Marinette  Co.) — Passing 
through  the  marsh. 

Powaaconnee — Poygan  abbreviated. 

Poygan  (lake,  Winnebago  Co.) — The  threshing  place  (for 

Poynette  (town,  Columbia  Co.) — Perhaps  of  Winnebago  or- 

Poysippi  vtown,  Waushara  Co.) — Same  as  Poygan,  with  sippi, 
(meaning  river)  added. 

Puckaway  vlake,  Green  Lake  Co.) — Cat  Tail  Flag. 


Powells  Recollections 

Shawano  (lake  and  county) — South;  the  eounly  was  named 
from  the  lake :  Shawano,  or  South,  Lake.  I  could  not  learn 
from  the  Menominee  how  this  name  was  derived.  Oshkosh 
once  said  to  me  that  his  ancestors  told  him  a  prophet  from  the 
South  visited  the  Menominee,  and  first  made  his  appearance 
at  the  Shawano  Lake,  proclaiming  himself  a  prophet  from  the 
South;  that  he  was  going  to  change  things  generally,  to  reform 
their  medical  remedies  and  reform  their  government,  and  then 
they  would  live  much  longer.  I  am  satisfied,  since  it  has  been 
explained  to  me  about  Tecumseh's  brother  the  Prophet,  that  he 
was  the  one  who  came  to  the  Menominee  about  1810  and  aimed 
at  their  reform ;  and  that  he  was  the  one  whom  Oshkosh  referred 
to  and  described. 

Sheboygan  (county  and  town) — Properly  Chapewyaconnee, 
a  Menominee  word,  meaning  a  rumbling  subterranean  sound,  as 
if  it  were  a  spirit  sound,  heard  in  the  lake  at  the  mouth  of  the 
river,  at  that  point.  Solomon  Juneau  used  to  state  to  me  that 
it  wras  a  Potawatomi  word,  and  meant  the  place  of  the  mermaid. 

Suamico  (river,  Brown  Co.) — Red  Sand  River. 

Taycheedah  (town,  Fond  du  Lac  Co.) — A  Winnebago  name. 

"Waucousta  (town,  Fond  du  Lac  Co.) — Not  a  Menominee  word. 

Waukesha,  or  Waukeshoon  (county  and  town) — Something 
about  a  fox. 

Waupaca  (river,  county,  and  town) — The  dawning  of  the 
morning.  The  French  endeavored  to  give  the  meaning  by  call- 
ing it  To-Morrow  River. 

Waupun  (town,  Fond  du  Lac  Co.) — Day-break  or  dawn. 

Waushara  (county) — A  Winnebago  word. 

Wautoma  (town,  Waushara  Co.) — Not  a  Menominee  word. 

Wanseka  (town,  Crawford  Co.) — A  Wrinnebago  word. 

Welaunee  (town,  Winnebago  Co.) — A  Winnebago  word. 

Weyauwega  (town,  Waupaca  Co.) — Named  by  Judge  Doty 
after  an  Indian  Weauweya,  said  to  have  lived  there  and  claimed 
the  country.  But  others  said  that  the  name  of  the  locality  came 
from  Weyawaca,  the  grand  encampment,  as  it  was  a  noted  In- 
dian camping  place.     This  latter  seems  to  me  most  probable. 

Winneconne  (town,  Winnebago  Co.) — The  place  of  the  skulL 
a  battleground,  where  some  of  the  Sauk  and  Foxes  were  chased 
by  the  French  and  Menominee  at  the  Butte  des  Morts  battle. 
See  ante,  p.  150. 

Wyocena  (towrn,  Columbia  Co.) — A  Winnebago  word. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

By  John  Wallace  Arndt1 

The  site  on  which  the  present  city  of  Green  Bay  is  built,  was 
in  1824  covered  with  a  forest  of  many  kinds  of  trees  and  much 
underbrush,  with  here  and  there  a  bit  of  swamp.  A  narrow  strip 
of  grassland,  about  two  hundred  feet  in  width,  extended  from 
what  is  now  Main  Street  along  the  river  shore  to  the  slough  near 
Doty  Street.     The  east  side  of  what  is  now  Washington  Street 

1John  Wallace  Arndt,  son  of  John  P.  Arndt,  a  well-known  early 
Innkeeper  of  Green  Bay,  was  born  at  Wilkesbarre,  Pa.,  Sept.  15,  1815. 
At  the  age  of  nine,  John  Wallace  Arndt  removed  with  his  father  to 
Green  Bay,  there  attending  school  and  assisting  his  father  in  trans- 
porting goods  on  the  Fox  River  of  Wisconsin.  In  1834  he  went  to 
school  in  the  East  and  was  for  a  time  at  Yale  College.  He  studied 
law  with  his  brother  Charles,  but  never  was  admitted  to  the  bar,  and 
settled  in  De  Pere,  where  his  homestead  is  still  standing.  In  1842  he 
married  Mary  C,  daughter  of  Randall  Wilcox.  Arndt  died  at  De  Pere 
Jan.  12,  1897.  In  1894  he  published  a  pamphlet  entitled  The  Early 
History  of  Green  Bay  and  the  Fox  River  Valley.  Personal  Reminis- 
censes.  From  this  pamphlet,  privately  printed  and  now  rare,  we  ex- 
tract and  greatly  condense  the  following  narrative,  which  has  several 
points  of  excellence:  its  intimate  account  of  the  introduction  to 
Wisconsin  waters,  in  1825,  of  the  Durham  boat,  invented  in  1750  by 
Robert  Durham  of  Bucks  County,  Pa. — for  further  details  of  this  craft 
see  R.  G.  Thwaites  (ed.),  Early  Western  Travels  (Cleveland,  Ohio,  1904 
-07),  ix,  p.  323;  its  glimpses  of  several  important  pioneer  settlers  in 
the  Fox  River  valley;  its  detailed  description  of  the  interesting  old 
Pierre  Grignon  house  at  Green  Bay;  and  its  graphic  chronicle  of  a 
typical  voyage  of  a  Durham  boat  from  Green  Bay  to  Fort  Winnebago 
(Portage)   and  return,  in  1830. — Ed. 


John  P.  Akndt  (1780-1861) 
From  oil  portrait  by  Samuel  M.  Brookes,  in  possession  of  the  Society 

Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

-corresponds  with  the  line  where  the  woods  and  the  grass  met. 
This  strip  was  a  favorite  camping  ground  for  the  Indians. 

A  man  by  the  name  of  Kelso  had  built  a  small  log  house,  which 
he  used  as  a  dwelling  and  store,  on  the  lots  where  the  Cook 
House  now  stands.  He  afterwards  moved  to  Wrightstown. 
There  was  no  other  building  or  evidence  of  any,  north  of  the 
slough,  except  the  remains  of  a  shabbily-built  barn  made  of 
small,  round  poles,  near  the  foot  of  Doty  Street. 

The  road  between  Green  Bay  and  De  Pere  began  at  the  slough 
and  followed  the  trend  of  the  river,  passed  west  of  Pierre  Grig- 
non's  old  house,  and  then  about  twenty  feet  east  of  John  P. 
Arndt's  dwelling.  It  then  passed  to  the  west  of  Judge  Lawe's 
place,  following  the  bank  of  the  river  on  the  same  track  where 
the  railroad  is  now,  until  it  struck  the  high  land  below  Louis 
Grignon's  house,  where  it  turned  up  into  the  present  road,  and 
so  on  to  De  Pere. 

Destruction  of  an  Old  House 

Pierre  Grignon's  old  house  stood  near  the  intersection  of  Stu- 
art and  Washington  streets,  about  two-hundred  feet  south  of 
the  slough,  and  the  same  distance  from  Fox  River.2  It  fronted 
the  west,  was  fifty  feet  square  and  one-and-a-half  stories  high, 
with  its  gables  north  and  south.  It  was  built  of  pine  logs,  hewn 
and  dressed  with  the  plane,  until  they  lay  fiat  10x12  inches.  In 
laying  up  this  timber  the  workmen  had  nicely  dovetailed  each 
corner,  making  a  very  close  joint — in  fact,  this  was  the  case 
throughout  the  building,  great  pains  having  apparently  been 
taken  to  do  the  work  well. 

The  roof  way  very  steep,  covered  with  cedar  bark,  now  nearly 
six  inches  thick.    There  were  many  layers  of  the  cedar  covering, 

2  This  seems  to  have  been  the  house  that  Pierre  Grignon  built,  de- 
scribed as  follows  by  his  son  Augustin  in  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  iii,  p.  253: 
"When  my  father  erected  a  new  house,  about  1790,  he  had  to  send  to 
Montreal  for  a  carpenter  and  mason;  his  house  was  a  hewed  log  build- 
ing, and  at  that  time  was  regarded  as  altogether  the  best  at  Green 
Bay."  It  was  probably  in  this  house  that  Pierre  Grignon's  widow 
(Madame  Langevin)  died  in  1823.  See  references  to  this  place  in  Id, 
xx,  passim. — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

showing  that  it  had  frequently  been  repaired  without  removing 
the  old  bark. 

The  upper  floor  was  supported  by  heavy  beams,  12x14  inches 
in  size,  crossing  the  building  east  and  west,  four  feet  apart,  and 
dressed  with  an  inch  bead  worked  on  the  lower  corners.  The 
floors  were  all  made  of  two-inch  pine  plank,  dressed,  plowed, 
and  grooved.  All  of  the  partitions  were  dressed  in  the  same  way, 
but  on  both  sides.  There  were  two  chimneys,  one  on  each  gable, 
built  of  limestone  and  flush  with  the  outside  of  the  timbers,  show- 
ing the  stone  from  top  to  base.  The  fireplaces  were  high  and 
broad,  projecting  well  into  the  room,  and  could  easily  take  in  a 
four-foot  log. 

The  first  floor  of  the  house  was  divided  into  four  rooms  be- 
sides a  vestibule,  in  the  following  manner :  A  25x30  feet  room 
was  in  the  southwest  corner ;  on  the  east  side  of  this  large  room 
were  two  bedrooms,  15x15  feet  square,  opening  into  it.  The 
kitchen  was  a  large  room  in  the  northeast  corner,  with  a  door 
opening  to  the  east,  also  an  inner  door  entering  the  vestibule  on 
the  west  side.  The  main  entrance  to  the  house  was  through  this 
vestibule,  in  the  northwest  corner,  where  also  was  the  stairway 
and  a  door  leading  into  the  large  front  room.  In  this  latter 
room  was  one  of  the  fireplaces,  also  two  triangular  closets,  one 
in  its  northeast,  and  the  other  in  the  southwest  corner,  made 
of  pine ;  each  with  four  doors,  two  below  and  two  above.  The 
two  upper  doors  of  each  closet  were  ornamented  with  a  carving 
in  demi-relief,  representing  the  royal  insignia  of  France — the 
fleur-des-lis.  How  meritorious  the  carving  wras  w7hen  first  made, 
I  cannot  tell.  It  was  not  protected  with  paint  or  varnish;  old 
age  had  dimmed  its  outlines  and  dulled  its  sharp  relief.  Yet 
there  was  enough  left  to  show  what  it  Avas  intended  to  represent. 
It  is  a  pity  these  doors  were  lost,  for  they  never  can  be  dupli- 

Over  the  main  entrance  of  the  house  was  a  portico,  which 
showed  considerable  artistic  taste  and  skill.  The  windows  were 
but  few  and  small.  The  upper  story  was  without  divisions, 
save  the  supports  of  each  rafter;  there  were  two  windows  in  the 
north  gable,  on  each  side  of  the  chimney. 

This  old  house  with  its  surroundings  and  the  farm  on  which  it 
stood,  plainly  showed  the  intelligence  and  enterprise  of  the  man 
who  planned  and  built  it.    Across  the  road,  west  of  the  house, 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

stood  the  store,  a  well-constructed  building,  20x30,  two  stories 
high.  Nearer  the  river,  a  few  rods  west,  were  the  ruins  of  an- 
other building,  probably  a  storehouse.  About  fifty  feet  north 
•of  the  house  was  a  building  larger  than  the  store,  built  in  the 
same  style  as  the  house,  two  stories  high,  and  divided  into  two 
rooms,  which  undoubtedly  were  used  for  storing  grain  and  pro- 
visions. A  large  square  garden  of  about  two  acres  southeast  of 
the  house  was  enclosed  by  a  fence  beginning  at  the  southwest 
corner,  running  south  on  a  line  with  the  house,  then  turning  east 
.and  north — the  north  fence  meeting  the  house  near  its  middle 
on  the  east  side.  The  fence  was  seven  or  eight  feet  high,  built 
of  cedar  posts  eight  feet  apart,  a  rabbet  being  made  on  each 
side  of  the  pest,  and  shakes  of  cedar  filled  the  space ;  a  cap  or 
coping  was  secured  on  top  with  tenon  and  mortise.  North  of 
the  house,  and  on  a  line  with  the  west  front,  was  a  fence  similar 
to  that  of  the  garden  and  extending  to  the  slough.-  In  this  fence 
and  close  to  the  house  was  placed  a  large  gateway,  with  a  smaller 
one  on  the  side,  through  which  the  road  passed  to  the  barns  at 
the  east. 

A  few  rods  east  of  the  garden  was  a  large  barn  which  stood 
with  its  gables  north  and  south,  nearly  a  hundred  feet  long, 
thirty  feet  wide,  and  eighteen  or  twenty  feet  to  the  plate,  with 
three  bays,  two  threshing  floors,  and  four  sets  of  double  doors. 
It  was  built  entirely  of  cedar  except  the  roof,  which  was  made 
with  tamarack  poles  and  thatched  with  straw.  The  same  plan 
was  used  as  in  building  the  garden  fence,  only  the  timber  wa3 
much  larger;  massive  cedar  trees  were  used  for  posts,  but  set 
farther  apart,  the  plates  and  other  timber  used  being  much 
larger.  It  was  an  immense  barn;  I  think  it  would  have  stored 
five  or  six  hundred  tons  of  hay,  and  remained  standing  several 
years  after  we  moved  here. 

About  a  hundred  feet  east  of  the  barn,  and  at  a  right  angle, 
was  the  horse  and  cow  stable,  built  in  the  same  fashion  as  the 
home  buildiugs,  of  hewn  pine  but  thatched  with  straw.  Around 
these  buildings  was  the  accumulation  of  forty  years  or  more  of 
rotten  straw  and  manure,  covering  more  than  an  acre  and  in 
some  places  four  or  five  feet  thick.  It  took  father  a  long  time 
to  remove  and  spread  it  on  the  farm,  a  part  of  which  he  rented 
and  cultivated  many  years.  The  cleared  and  cultivated  part 
of  the  farm  at  that  time  extended  from  a  point  a  little  north  of 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

Doty  Street  south  to  Judge  Lawe's  north  line,  and  east  to  Van 
Buren  Street  and  Webster  Avenue. 

Before  we  leave  the  old  house  and  garden,  so  familiar  to  me 
in  early  youth,  I  will  relate  my  connection  with  it.  In  1825 
father  rented  the  garden,  together  with  the  farm,  and  from  that 
time  to  the  platting  of  Astor  he  used  it  for  his  family.  Here  1 
served  my  apprenticeship  in  gardening.  The  house  being  much 
out  of  repair,  was  used  only  at  short  intervals  during  the  sum- 
mer and  by  a  worthless  set,  which  caused  some  sacrilegious  per- 
son to  dub  it  the  "Nunnery."  Over  on  Duck  Creek,  where  he 
spent  his  winters,  making  shingles  and  cutting  cord  wood,  was 
a  discharged  soldier  named  Marsdon,  who  was  married  to  a 
squaw;  when  a  white  man  took  a  squaw  to  wife  he  took  the 
whole  family,  sisters,  brothers-in-law,  aunts,  and  cousins.  In 
summer,  Marsdon  and  his  numerous  family  moved  to  the  city, 
the  females  not  liking  the  loneliness  of  rural  life.  Without 
leave  or  license  they  took  possession  of  this  old  house. 

This  sounded  the  knell  of  the  once  grand  old  house.  Father 
purchased  it  with  the  privilege  of  tearing  it  down.  My  brother 
Charles  and  I,  with  men  to  help  us,  began  the  work  of  destruc- 
tion. Our  plan  was  first  to  remove  the  supports  to  the  roof,  as 
far  as  we  thought  it  safe  to  the  workmen ;  then  we  undermined 
the  chimneys,  so  that  when  the  roof  fell  it  would  carry  them 
with  it.  This  part  of  the  work  being  done  we  awaited  the  re- 
sult. The  roof  being  covered  with  so  many  layers  of  cedar  bark, 
had  become  rotten  and  porous  and  absorbed  water  like  a  sponge. 
In  a  few  days  a  storm  came,  a  regular  northeaster;  the  wind 
blew  and  the  rain  poured  on  that  devoted  roof,  and  in  the 
darkness  of  night  the  crash  came,  carrying  destruction  with  it. 
The  ruin  was  complete ;  nothing  remained  standing  but  a  part 
of  the  outside  walls. 

Could  these  walls  have  spoken,  they  would  have  told  of  de- 
liberate councils  held  within,  debating  the  chances  of  peace  or 
war,  of  trade  and  commerce.  They  would  have  told  of  festive 
scenes,  the  table  loaded  with  fish,  flesh,  and  fowl,  gathered  by 
the  hunters'  skill  from  the  river,  lake,  and  forest.  They  would 
have  told,  too,  of  music  and  the  dance,  so  dear  to  the  gay  and 
festive  Frenchmen.  Thither  came  native  chiefs  and  warriors; 
white  men  also,  for  trade  and  profit ;  others  for  the  mere  love 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

of  exploration — men  wise  in  council,  strong  in  war,  who  led  that 
host  of  savages  who  surprised  and  defeated  Braddock.3 

American  Pioneers 

In  1624,  when  father  first  landed  on  the  shores  of  Fox  River,* 
he  was  just  forty-two  years  old,  in  full  health  and  strength  of 
body  and  mind,  well  equipped  for  the  labor  he  wished  to  under- 
take. From  the  early  age  of  eighteen  years,  until  his  father's 
death  (in  1802)  he  had  been  connected  with  him  in  business — 
milling,  lumbering,  merchandizing,  and  other  occupations,  such 
as  building  Durham  boats.  The  last-named  industry  made  a 
large  and  for  many  years  a  successful  business.  Grandfather 
Arndt  was  a  shrewd  and  intelligent  man ;  he  knew  how  to  make 
money,  how  to  keep  and  to  use  it.  His  firm  took  the  lead  in 
Wilkesbarre,  Luzern  County,  Pennsylvania.  After  his  death, 
his  only  son  and  heir  wTas  my  father,  who  took  full  control  of 
the  business  and  was  successful  until  the  crisis  of  1815-16,  and 
its  crash.  Thus  he  brought  with  him  to  this  region  the  experi- 
ence of  more  than  twenty  years  of  business  success  and  failure. 

Father  was  much  interested  in  the  navigation  and  improve- 
ment of  the  Fox  and  Wisconsin  rivers.  The  project  was  much 
discussed  among  the  few  leading  business  men — James  Doty, 
Daniel  Whitney,  the  two  Irwin  brothers,  John  Lawe,  the  Grig- 
nons,  and  some  others.  This  was  the  beginning  of  the  Fox 
River  Company,  to  demonstrate  the  feasibility  of  freighting  on 
the  Fox  River  in  its  natural  state,  in  a  reasonable  time,  and  at 
a  fair  profit. 

In  the  spring  of  1825  father  built  the  first  Durham  boat, 
ecpiipped  and  loaded  it  with  a  stock  of  goods  for  Fever  River 
(now  Galena),  where  a  store  was  opened,  The  plan  was  to 
purchase  lead,  and  transport  it  to  Green  Bay  by  the  way  of  the 
Wisconsin  and  Fox  rivers,  thereby  opening  another  outlet  for 
the  lead  to  the  Eastern  market. 

8  Referring  to  the  well-known  tradition  that  Charles  Langlade,  father- 
in-law  of  Pierre  Grignon,  led  the  Indians  in  the  fatal  attack  on  Brad- 
dock  in  1755 — 'many  years,  however,  before  this  house  was  built. — Ed. 

4  For  a  brief  biographical  sketch  of  John  P.  Arndt  see  Wis.  Hist. 
Colls.,  xx. — Ed. 

[185  ] 

Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

This  business  was  put  in  charge  of  a  man  by  the  name  of 
Abbot,  a  good  business  man,  one  who  knew  all  about  Durham 
boats.  He  had  been  in  father 's  employ  at  Wilkesbarre  for  many 
years.  After  a  year's  trial  the  project  was  given  up,  the  whole 
difficulty  being  in  navigating  the  Wisconsin;  the  Fox  was  all 
right.  Though  the  first  attempt  was  a  partial  failure,  nothing 
daunted,  the  boat  building  went  on. 

Treaty  of  Butte  des  Morts 

In  1827  a  commission  was  appointed,  headed  by  Lewis  Cass, 
governor  of  Michigan.  The  commissioners  located  the  treaty 
at  Little  Butte  des  Morts,  just  where  the  Chicago  &  Northwest- 
ern railroad  turns  on  the  west  bank  to  cross  Lake  Butte  des 
Morts  to  Menasha.  This  had  been  a  favorite  cemetery  for  the 
Indians,  but  most  of  it  has  since  been  removed  to  make  room 
for  the  railway.  At  the  time  of  the  excavations,  many  curi- 
osities were  found,  such  as  stone  and  copper  axes,  arrow  heads, 
spears  or  lance  heads,  and  heaps  of  bones.  In  preparation  for 
the  treaty,  there  was  planted  on  the  apex  of  this  mound  a  tall 
fiag-staff,  from  which  floated  the  stars-and-stripes. 

The  buildings  for  the  governor  and  his  suite  were  placed  near 
the  mound,  while  the  camps  of  the  different  tribes  were  situated 
some  distance  from  headquarters.  Those  natives  friendly  to 
one  another  were  by  themselves;  those  disposed  to  be  quarrel- 
some were  placed  apart  from  the  peaceful,  for  fear  some  old 
feud  might  be  revived.    The  Indian  neither  forgets  nor  forgives. 

These  small  native  encampments  presented  a  novel  sight  to 
the  stranger,  in  the  neatness  with  which  they  were  built  and 
the  ingenuity  displayed  in  the  use  of  scant  material.  A  few 
small  poles  stuck  in  the  ground  were  covered  with  rush  mats 
or  dressed  skins,  a  hole  being  left  in  the  top  for  the  smoke  to 
escape.  Such  wigwams  were  warm,  comfortable,  and  dry.  It 
was  a  unique  sight,  this  city  built  almost  in  a  day  on  the  banks 
of  a  beautiful  lake,  surrounded  by  the  primeval  forest  sweep- 
ing around  it  in  a  circle  three  or  four  miles  deep.  There  were 
tribes  from  the  north  and  south,  the  east  and  the  west,  speak- 
ing their  various  tongues  and  dressed  each  in  their  peculiar 
costumes.     And  in  their  center  was  the  flag-staff. 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

Robert  Irwin  and  my  father  had  obtained  the  contract  for 
furnishing  and  delivering  on  the  treaty  grounds  all  provisions, 
together  with  all  necessary  buildings,  including  quarters  for 
the  governor  and  suite,  which  numbered  in  all  about  eighty 
persons.  The  contractors  furnished  beds  and  bedding,  chairs, 
tables  with  their  crockery  and  glassware.  The  food  and  lux- 
uries necessary  to  satisfy  this  motley  crowd  were  a  wonder  to 
behold.  The  quantity  was  considerable,  and  in  quality  the 
best  that  the  government  money  could  purchase.  Of  liquor  there 
was  also  an  abundant  store,  both  from  still  and  press. 

In  securing  the  contract  with  the  United  States.  Irwin  was 
the  political  power  behind  the  throne:  but  father  was  equipped 
for  the  business  in  material  and  appliances,  and  a  thorough 
knowledge  of  the  situation.  His  boats  furnished  the  transpor- 
tation, and  his  saw-mill  the  lumber  for  the  treaty  buildings. 
The  goods  and  supplies  were  stored  in  his  warehouse  at  Green 
Bay,  and  prepared  for  transportation  to  the  treaty  ground. 
In  this  undertaking  the  Durham  boats  were  in  constant  use, 
and  people  wondered  at  the  ease  with  which  they  seemed  to 
solve  the  problem  of  navigating  the  Fox. 

Description  of  the  Durham  Boat 

The  Durham  boat  had  long  been  used  on  the  Delaware  and 
Susquehanna  rivers,  which  are  somewhat  similar  to  the  Fox, 
being  interrupted  by  rapids  and  shallow  water.  The  boat  was 
of  simple  build,  carrying  a  large  load  with  light  draft,  and 
passing  easily  through  the  water.  Generally  they  were  from 
forty-five  to  sixty  feet  in  length,  ten  to  twelve  feet  beam,  two 
and  one-half  feet  deep,  drawing  eighteen  to  twenty  inches,  and 
carrying  from  twenty-five  to  thirty  tons  of  freight. 

The  bottom  was  constructed  of  \V-r  inch  oak  plank,  with  one 
streak  above  the  bend;  above  this  to  the  gunwale,  pine  was 
used.  The  timbers  of  the'  frame  were  of  oak,  3x3^  inches, 
steamed  and  bent,  or  worked  out  of  natural  crooks ;  oak  beams 
4x5  inches  were  placed  athwart  the  boat  eight  or  nine  feet 
apart,  and  made  to  crown  or  arch  four  or  five  inches.  The 
waist  began  about  eight  feet  from  the  stern  and  extended  per- 
fectly straight  to  within  eight  feet  of  the  bow.     The  sheer  be- 

13  [187  ] 

Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

gan  at  these  two  points,  fore  and  aft,  raising  the  stem  and  stern 
a.  few  inches  above  the  waist.  The  boat  was  sharp  at  both 
ends,  which  were  decked  over  to  the  waist,  where  the  walking 
board  began,  and  ran  the  whole  length  of  the  waist.  The  walk- 
ing board  was  about  fourteen  inches  wide ;  combings  2x4  inches 
were  secured  to  the  inner  side  to  give  it  strength  and  increase 
the  freeboard. 

For  the  first  boats  that  father  built,  he  had  much  trouble 
and  expense  in  procuring  the  right  kind  of  lumber.  They  re- 
quired plank  from  twenty  to  thirty  feet  long,  both  pine  and 
oak.  His  mill  was  not  yet  arranged  to  saw  such  long  lumber, 
so  he  resorted  to  the  whip  saw.  The  timber  was  cut  the  proper 
lengths,  hewn  on  two  sides,  and  by  the  use  of  two  men  and  a 
whip  saw  made  into  lumber.  However,  as  the  demand  for  boats 
increased,  he  soon  remedied  this  lack.  He  built  boats  not  only 
for  his  own  use  but  for  other  parties;  several  for  the  American 
Fur  Company,  Daniel  Whitney,  and  others.  The  manufacture 
of  these  craft  soon  grew  into  a  large  business,  and  gave  em- 
ployment to  many  men;  it  continued  until  the  improvement  of 
the  Fox  River  commenced. 

The  steering  oar  was  the  novelty  of  the  boat,  hewn  from  a 
pine  tree  twenty  feet  long  and  large  enough  to  make  a  blade 
twelve  inches  wide  and  three  or  four  feet  long.  The  pivotal 
point  was  about  eleven  feet  from  the  end  of  the  blade;  the 
stock  so  arches  to  this  point  that  when  the  boat  was  loaded 
the  handle  of  the  oar  would  be  three  feet  above  the  deck.  At 
this  pivotal  point  a  slotted  mortise  was  made  to  receive  a  l1/^ 
inch  iron  pin  driven  into  the  head  of  the  stern  post,  on  which 
to  hang  the  oar.  The  oar  was  now  put  in  place,  dressed  and 
thinned  until  it  was  in  balance,  so  that  it  would  work  easily  in 
all  necessary  directions.  The  principal  propelling  power  was 
the  socket  pole,  with  a  good,  strong  man  at  the  other  end  of  it. 
This  pole  was  made  of  the  best  and  toughest  white  ash  fifteen 
feet  long,  1%  inches  in  its  largest  part,  and  tapering  to  IV2 
inches  at  the  top,  on  this  being  placed  a  button,  to  ease  the 
pressure  on  the  shoulder.  The  pocket  was  of  iron,  armed  with 
a  square  steel  point,  well-tempered  and  kept  sharp.  The  ordi- 
nary oar  was  seldom  used,  although  one  for  each  man  was  pro- 
vided in  case  of  need.  A  mast,  sail,  and  oilcloths  were  a  part 
of  the  outfit,  beside  a  heavy  block  and  tackle  and  a  long  tow- 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

line.     Thus  equipped   the   boat  was  a   complete  innovation  at 
the  time  of  its  introduction  on  the  Fox  River. 

The  French  trader  with  his  bateau  drawing  over  two  feet  of 
water,  carrying  ten  or  twelve  tons  of  freight,  propelled  with 
oars  or  small  hand  poles  by  a.  crew  of  ten  or  twelve  men, 
who  stopped  every  three  miles  to  smoke  their  pipes  and  rest, 
looked  on  this  big  boat  with  doubting  eyes.  "It  is  too  big," 
"Cannot  get  her  over  the  rapids,"  "Takes  too  many  men," 
"Costs  too  much" — such  were  the  criticisms.  That  long  oar 
perched  upon  the  stern  gave  them  much  trouble  and  anxiety. 
"Oh!  you  will  soon  take  that  tiling  off  the  stern  and  put  two 
or  more  Frenchmen  with  their  small  handy  poles  there,  to  steer 
your  boat."  It  was  knowledge  perfected  by  experience  against 
ignorance  and  prejudice.  The  prophets  failed.  The  Durham 
boat  won  the  prize  and  kept  it  until  the  river  was  improved 
and  the  steamboat  took  its  place. 

A  Trip  on  the  Fox  River 

The  time  chosen  to  make  this  imaginary  trip  will  be  in  the 
month  of  June,  1830.  By  that  time  the  transportation  busi- 
ness was  well-established  and  systematized.  We  had  learned 
the  best,  quickest,  most  economical  way  in  which  to  conduct  it. 
Our  men  were  drilled  and  understood  their  work.  I  had  this 
season  been  promoted  to  the  captaincy  of  my  first  boat,  with 
all  the  power,  emoluments,  and  honors  that  that  position  gave. 
Although  a  few  years  later  I  was  appointed  captain  of  a  militia 
company  belonging  to  Col.  Samuel  Ryan's  regiment,  I  think 
I  was  prouder  of  my  first  command  than  of  my  second.  The 
boatmen  were  better  drilled  than  the  soldiers,  and  I  knew  more 
about  running  a  boat  than  a  militia  company. 

Let  us  go  to  John  P.  Arndt's  warehouse,  standing  on  Point 
Pleasant  on  the  riverside  fronting  his  dwelling,  and  see  how  the 
goods  were  prepared  for  transportation.  As  they  had  to  be 
handled  a.  number  of  times  in  transit,  rolled  or  carried  over 
rough  and  difficult  places  on  ladders  placed  along  the  shore,  it 
■was  necessary  to  have  the  packages  of  such  weight  that  two  or 
three  men  could  handle  them  easily  without  breakage  or  dam- 
age, thereby  saving  both  time  and  money.  The  freightage  be- 
ing paid  by  the  hundred  pounds,  we  paid  the  teamster  in  the 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

same  way  for  hauling  the  goods  over  the  portage.  Therefore 
it  became  necessary  to  weigh  each  package  and  mark  thereon 
the  weight.  They  were  then  checked  on  the  wagons  and  a  re- 
ceipt given  of  the  weight  of  each  load,  to  avoid  any  misunder- 

The  boat  is  to  be  loaded  today,  so  that  we  can  make  an  early 
start  tomorrow  morning,  thus  arriving  at  the  Grand  Kaukauna 
landing  a  couple  of  hours  before  dark.  Seven  men  compose  my 
crew,  for  my  boat  is  large  and  heavily  loaded.  Six  is  the  ordi- 
nary crew,  beside  the  captain  or  steersman.  Everything  is 
ready,  cast  off  the  lines  and  let  her  go.  Each  pole  is  quickly 
set,  the  button  placed  on  the  big  muscles  of  the  neck  and  shoul- 
ders, which  soon  become  callous  and  give  no  pain. 

A  three-mile  gait  of  the  polemen  moves  the  boat  at  each  set  a 
little  more  than  its  length,  which  gives,  in  ordinary  water,  a 
speed  of  over  three  miles  an  hour. 

It  requires  as  much  skill  and  tact  to  handle  the  pole  and  get 
all  there  is  in  it  of  force  as  a  propeller,  as  to  use  the  oar.  No- 
tice how  the  men  set  and  handle  their  poles — those  on  the  left 
side  of  the  boat  grasp  theirs  with  their  right  hand  just  below 
the  button  (the  socket  being  in  the  water),  and  with  a  twist  of 
the  wrist  and  the  help  of  the  right  knee  the  pole  is  thrown  into 
the  right  position.  The  button  is  then  brought  to  the  shoulder 
and  the  force  applied.  This  is  done  so  quick  and  deftly  that 
it  seems  like  one  motion.  Upon  reaching  the  stern  of  the  walk- 
ing board  the  poleman  quickly  rises,  gives  the  pole  a  twist  to 
•  disengage  it  from  the  bottom,  and  at  the  same  time  turns  and 
grasps  it  with  his  left  hand,  walks  to  the  bow  and  sets  again. 
They  must  all  set  together  and  at  the  same  time.  The  disen- 
gaged hand  is  always  ready  to  grasp  anything  in  its  reach, 
either  to  increase  the  force  of  the  push,  or  save  oneself  from 
going  overboard  if  the  pole  should  slip  on  the  bottom.  The 
skill  and  judgment  of  the  steersman  keep  the  boat  parallel  with 
the  stream,  and  avoid  a  sideway  motion ;  that  would  crowd  the 
poles  on  one  side,  and  be  too  far  off  on  the  other.  When  this 
happens  the  men  break  their  hold  and  have  to  set  again,  which 
causes  confusion. 

While  the  crew  are  forwarding  the  boat,  let  us  look  at  our 
surroundings.  The  sloping  banks  on  either  side,  extending  to 
higher  land  bevond,  divided  into  alternate  strips   (woods  and 


0>  M 

Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

cultivated  land),  and  the  French  claims  granted  to  the  first 
settlers  some  years  ago  by  the  right  of  occupation.  They  are 
from  two  to  five  or  six  acres  wide  and  extend  back  from  the 
river  eighty  acres  or  more.  Their  owners  have  cleared 
and  cultivated  just  enough  to  supply  their  present  wants,  leav- 
ing the  original  forest  on  either  side.  All  that  each  Frenchman 
wanted  was  a  narrow  strip  of  land  on  the  river  front,  where 
he  could  catch  his  fish  (which  he  called  his  pork  barrel),  and 
the  forest  behind  for  wood  and  timber.  On  his  cleared  land  he 
raises  potatoes,  wheat,  oats,  and  other  grain,  while  with  gun 
and  rod  he  supplies  the  rest  of  his  provender  whether  of  fish, 
flesh,  or  fowl. 

That  house  which  we  are  passing,  a  few  rods  from  the  river 
shore,  is  the  residence  of  Jourdain,  a  blacksmith,  whose  shop  is 
just  north  of  the  house.  He  is  an  old  settler  and  a  very  worthy 
one,  father-in-law  of  the  Rev.  Eleazer  Williams. 

Next  comes  John  Lawe's  point.  The  platform  there  erected 
is  used  to  dry  lyed  corn,  which  is  the  food  of  his  employees.  He 
is  one  of  the  old  settlers,  one  of  the  few  influential  men  of  this 
region.  You  can  see  from  his  dwelling,  garden,  parks,  and  out- 
houses how  he  lives  in  patriarchal  style  like  the  old  Dutchmen 
on  the  Hudson  River,  a  hundred  and  fifty  years  or  more  ago. 

Here  is  another  point,  called  that  of  Louis  Grignon,  on  which 
is  an  old  storehouse.  Forty  or  fifty  rods  east,  on  an  elevation, 
is  his  dwelling,  an  old  house  in  the  style  of  buildings  built  about 
seventy  or  eighty  years  before.  He,  too,  is  an  old  settler,  born 
here  and  belonging  to  one  of  the  oldest  families.  A  few  rods 
south  of  this  dwelling,  and  close  to  the  south  line  of  the  farm, 
is  the  schoolhouse — on  Louis  Rouse's  farm,  whose  house  is  a 
few  rods  south.  I  went  to  school  here  for  a  short  time,  the 
teacher  being  Captain  Cnrlis,  afterwards  succeeded  by  A.  G. 

The  bank  here  takes  a  sudden  rise,  forming  a  steep  descent 
from  the  road  above  to  the  water's  edge,  and  covered  with  a 
heavy  growth  of  trees  and  underbrush.  This  continues  some 
distance  up  the  river,  where  it  descends  to  a  low  but  narrow 

eFor  documents  on  early  schools  at  Green  Bay,  see  Id,  xii,  pp.  453- 
465;  see  also  Ellis's  "Recollections,"  Id,  vii,  pp.  228-231,  234-236.— Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

table-land,  breaking  the  monotony  of  the  view  and  lending 
beauty  to  the  scene. 

Observe  a  house  on  that  low  bank  near  the  river's  shore. 
There  once  lived  a  man,  owner  of  the  neighboring  farm,  named 
Beauprey.6  He  was  a  trader  in  the  olden  time  and  died  a 
singular  death  from  the  excessive  use  of  green  tea.  He  be- 
came so  fond  of  it  that  he  drank  it  night  and  day,  and  even 
ate  the  grounds.  Of  this  excess  he  died,  and  singular  to  tell, 
his  complexion  changed  to  a  deep  tea-green. 

The  river  is  now  widening.  We  are  entering  the  suburbs 
of  what  is  known  as  "Shanty  Town."  This  settlement  is  due 
to  a  mistake  on  the  part  of  a  United  States  officer  in  locating 
the  troops  in  the  wrong  place — Camp  Smith.  A  mile  or  more 
away,  to  the  southeast,  on  that  higher  elevation,  two  or  three 
buildings  still  remain  of  the  old  camp.  This  camp  started  the 
boom  of  "Shanty  Town,"  which  is  built  on  the  west  side  of  the 
second  plateau  near  its  brink — the  shanties  are  of  one  story 
with  a  basement ;  all  kinds  of  material  were  used  in  their  con- 
struction, and  no  particular  style  of  architecture.  However, 
they  answered  the  purpose  for  which  they  were  built,  and  when 
no  longer  of  use  were  left  to  time  and  decay.  Daniel  "Whitney, 
the  Irwins,  and  William  Dickinson  had  built  better,  substantial, 
comfortable  dwellings  and  stores.  The  glory  of  this  inland  city 
has  gone  into  history.  It  was  doomed  when  the  order  came 
to  move  the  soldiers  from  Camp  Smith.7 

Push  on.  The  scene  is  about  the  same,  although  the  forest 
is  more  dense  and  approaches  nearer  to  the  water's  edge.  The 
river  is  fast  widening.  We  are  approaching  the  site  of  the  old- 
est mission  in  the  Northwest.  The  Jesuit  mission  of  Rapides 
des  Peres  was  established  by  Father  Claude  Allouez  in  1669. 
Three  or  four  small  modern  buildings  mark  the  place  where 
that  heroic  priest  preached  the  gospel  to  the  benighted  Indians. 

A  new  and  bolder  scene  now  presents  itself.  Higher  and 
more  abrupt  banks  reach  the  margin  of  the  river,  covered  with 
a  heavier  growth  of  forest  trees,  dipping  their  pendent  limbs  in 
the  fast-flowing  stream.  The  stream  is  not  as  straight  as  it 
was  below;  the  jutting  points  are  more  prominent  and  look  as 

'  For  a  sketch  of  this  person  see  Id,  xix,  p.  364,  note  10. — Ed. 
'  For  this  episode  see  Id,  xx,  and  references  therein  cited. — Ed. 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

though  they  barred  the  way.  "We  turn  the  point,  and  other 
headlands  appear,  each  with  a  beauty  of  its  own. 

The  current  now  grows  stronger;  the  Little  Kaukauna  is 
near.  That  long,  narrow,  low-lying  island  which  you  see  to 
the  right,  is  the  home  of  the  Rev.  Eleazer  Williams.  He  has 
a  considerable  tract  of  land  west  of  his  dwelling,  given  to  him 
by  the  Oneida  Indians,  who  were  located  here  a  few  years  ago. 
Here  are  the  rapids  known  as  Little  Kaukauna,  sometimes  very 
difficult  to  pass.  If  the  river  is  high  we  can  push  through  that 
short  canal  to  the  right,  which  was  a  flume  or  waste  weir.  At 
an  early  date  the  United  States  built  a  mill  here,  but  owing  to 
a  faulty  construction  of  the  dam,  which  soon  gave  way,  it  was 
abandoned.8  As  the  river  is  about  at  the  right  stage,  a  few 
quick  and  vigorous  shoves  of  the  poles  Avill  soon  take  us  through 
that  quick-running  mass  of  troubled  water. 

Well  done,  my  gocd  and  gallant  crew!  The  halfway  stake 
is  passed,  and  not  half  the  day  gone.  Moor  the  boat  and  rest 
a  spell  while  we  lunch  and  refresh  the  inner  man.  The  time 
is  up  and  we  proceed.  The  only  change  in  the  general  land- 
scape is  the  receding  of  the  high  bank  from  the  river,  leaving 
along  the  shore  long  narrow  strips  of  low  land.  The  same 
dense  forest  crowds  to  the  water's  edge. 

Note  those  hieroglyphics  on  the  oak  trees  that  stand  leaning 
over  the  water.  They  are  made  to  represent  a  deer,  and  some- 
times the  hunter  in  the  act  of  firing  his  gun.  They  record  the 
hunter's  success  in  the  chase.  There  are  hundreds  of  them  all 
along  the  shores,  many  of  them  well  executed  and  painted  with 
vermillion.  In  June,  when  the  deer  are  in  the  red,  and  seek  the 
water,  the  Indian  places  a  torch  in  the  bow  of  his  canoe  with 
a  screen  behind  which  he  hides  gnu  in  hand  ready  to  shoot, 
while  his  companion  slowly  and  noiselessly  poles  and  manages 
the  canoe.  The  deer  is  an  inquisitive  animal ;  the.  light  at- 
tracts his  attention,  he  approaches  and  falls  an  easy  victim 
to  the  cunning  of  the  hunter. 

Here  is  Apple  Creek,  a  small  stream  putting  in  from  the 
west :  the  high  bank  on  the  east  side  is  receding  from  the  shore, 
showing  a  widening  strip  of  low  and  level  land.  Then  comes 
Plum  Creek,  quite  a  large  stream ;  and  there  is  the  second  house 

See  Id,  vii,  p.  229.— Ed. 

[193  ] 

Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

that  we  have  seen  since  we  left  De  Pere.  It  is  occupied  by  Hoel 
S.  Wright,  a  shrewd  Yankee  who  keeps  a  store  and  trades  with 
the  Indians  for  furs  and  will  put  up  any  belated  traveler  who 
happens  along. 

Among  the  Rapids 

We  are  now  approaching  Rapides  des  Croches,  a  difficult  place 
to  pass.  Here  at  this  short  turn  of  the  river,  the  water  runs 
swift  and  deep  over  a  bottom  of  smooth  rock  and  large  boul- 
ders, some  of  whose  tops  come  near  the  surface  and  are  not  easily 
avoided.  This  makes  the  poling  bad,  since  the  poles  slip  on  the 
smooth  rock  and  the  poleman  is  liable  to  be  thrown  overboard. 

This  place  has  a  history.  It  was  neutral  ground  between  two 
hostile  tribes,  the  Winnebago  and  Menominee.  Here  in  times 
past  they  met  and  tried  to  settle  their  differences  and  to  trade. 
The  Winnebago  had  wild  rice  to  exchange.  This  grew  in  great 
abundance  along  the  lakes  and  rivers  in  their  possession.  The 
Menominee  built  bark  canoes  and  were  willing  to  barter  these 
for  rice  and  other  things.  The  Winnebago  craft  Mere  nothing 
but  clumsy  and  ill-built  dug-outs  that  did  not  properly  serve 
them  for  the  gathering  of  rice  and  fish  on  their  large  lakes,  and 
travelling  on  their  many  rivers.  The  Winnebago  desired  to 
possess  canoes,  and  I  suspect  that  the  Menominee  always  got 
the  best  of  the  bargain. 

From  here  to  the  Grignon  landing,  the  poling  is  much  easier 
than  below,  since  the  current  is  less  swift.  As  we  ascend,  the 
banks  on  either  side  are  increasing  in  height.  The  forest  still 
dominates  the  scene,  and  is  densest  on  the  eastern  slope. 

The  Great  Kaukauna 

We  are  now  approaching  a  panoramic  scene  of  high  lands 
clothed  in  primitive  forest,  sweeping  around  from  north  to 
south,  then  toward  the  western  heights,  then  north  to  oppo- 
site the  starting  point  on  the  eastern  bank — making  a  circuit 
of  seven  or  eight  miles  and  enclosing  one  of  the  most  beautiful 
and  picturesque  scenes  on  the  lower  Fox.  Through  this  re- 
gion of  glades  and  meadows,  gentle  slopes  or  abrupt  ascents, 
the  river  comes  rolling  and  tumbling  along  from  the  westward 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

over  and  around  the  great  rocks,  fretting  and  foaming  as  though 
in  anger  at  the  obstructions  it  meets;  but  at  last  it  turns  to  the 
north  in  quiet  and  peace,  forming  a  lake  in  which  in  the  proper 
season  thousands  of  fish  appear — in  numbers  almost  equalling 
the  leaves  on  the  forest  trees.  The  strong  rapids  above  barring 
their  way,  they  crowd  in  masses  so  dense  that  the  spearsmen 
seldom  miss  their  aim;  hence  the  Indian  name  Kaukauna,  which 
means  enough,  plenty.9 

This  part  of  the  valley  is  owned  in  partnership  by  Augustin 
Grignon  and  John  LawTe.  The  first  or  lower  landing  belongs 
to  the  former ;  the  upper,  about  one  and  one-half  miles  higher, 
to  Lawe.  That  cluster  of  buildings  about  a  mile  away  north- 
westward sheltered  by  the  hills,  is  Augustin  Grignon 's  resi- 
dence. His  dwelling,  outhouses,  store,  barns,  and  stables  are  in 
the  olden  style,  and  his  farm  is  cultivated  and  managed  in  the 
primitive  mode  of  the  last  century.  Born  and  raised  at  Green 
Bay,  he  has  spent  all  his  life  in  the  Indian  trade,  and  in  later 
years  this  has  been  his  principal  trading  post.  He  has  a  beau- 
tiful place  and  the  part  he  uses  for  the  farm  is  under  a  good 
state  of  cultivation,  notwithstanding  the  old  style. 

Here  our  agent  has  everything  in  readiness  for  tomorrow's 
portage ;  the  men  and  teams  will  be  on  hand  by  daylight.  No- 
tice the  men  unloading  the  boat.  Goods  liable  to  be  injured 
by  rain  are  put  in  a  pile  by  themselves  and  covered  w7ith  oil 
cloths.  Those  not  requiring  such  protection  are  placed  in  an- 
other pile,  so  that  they  can  be  hauled  first  by  the  teams  and 
stowed  in  the  bottom  of  the  boat,  and  the  other  goods  placed 
on  top  to  keep  them  dry  in  case  some  accident  should  happen 
among  the  rocks  and  the  boat  spring  a  leak.  In  such  an  emer- 
gency we  beach  the  boat,  unload,  and  repair  damages. 

An  Indian  Village 

The  men  have  unloaded  the  boat,  protected  the  piles  of  freight 
from  rain,  and  pitched  the  tents.  Supper  is  eaten  before  the 
sun  goes  down,  and  then  we  smoke  a  pipe  and  gaze  at  the 
beautiful  scene  surrounding  us.  Look  to  the  east,  a  mile  away 
over  the  moving  water.     See  that  sloping  hill  extending  a  mile 

•Usually  interpreted  as  "a  fishing  ground  for  pickerel." — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

or  so  along  the  shore,  reached  at  an  easy  angle  from  the  beach. 
A  distance  of  more  than  a  thousand  feet  has  been  terraced  and 
forms  a  succession  of  broad  plateaus  on  which  the  Indians  have 
built  in  irregular  lines  their  huts  and  wigwams,  utilizing  every 
available  space  for  the  cultivation  of  corn,  potatoes,  and  other 
vegetables.  It  is  a  typical  Indian  village,  with  its  terraced 
farms  extending  in  long  lines  along  the  slope,  dotted  at  irregular 
intervals  with  their  quaint  and  picturesque  dwellings. 

Let  us  now  retire  to  our  tent  and  sleep,  for  we  have  before 
us  the  greatest  obstacle  of  the  whole  trip  to  overcome — rapids 
■of  fifteen  miles,  with  very  little  slack  water  between. 

When  we  reach  Lake  Winnebago  we  will  be  a  hundred  and 
forty  or  a  hundred  and  fifty  feet  above  the  level  of  our  present 
night  camp.  This  is  to  be  overcome  by  the  skill,  brawn,  and 
muscle  of  about  thirty  men,  wading  and  dragging  the  boat  by 
main  force  against  a  strong  current  that  will  continue  most 
of  the  way.  The  extra  men  are  to  be  obtained  from  that  In- 
dian village  on  the  slope  beyond.  This  has  been  their  busi- 
ness ever  since  Fox  River  boating  commenced;  they  have 
learned  the  method  and  many  of  them  are  good  pilots  who  can 
take  command  of  the  boat  and  push  her  through. 

Here  is  the  dawn  of  another  day.  The  cook  is  preparing  the 
morning  meal,  the  Indians  are  launching  their  canoes  to  cross 
the  river,  and  I  can  hear  the  squeak  of  home-made  carts  as 
they  are  driven  down  the  road  from  Grignon's  farm.  In  these 
primitive  vehicles  no  iron  is  used  save  the  tire,  and  often  not 
even  that ;  they  surely  need  no  horn  to  signal  their  approach. 

The  men  are  preparing  the  boat  for  a  start,  and  the  teams 
are  loading.  I  leave  one  trusty  man  here  with  the  agent,  who 
will  check  the  goods  on  to  the  wagons  and  when  loaded  follow 
them  to  the  upper  landing,  and  then  return  to  check  and  un- 
load again.  Another  man  cares  for  the  remaining  goods.  I 
also  send  another  along  with  the  teams  to  guard  the  goods  when 
delivered  at  the  upper  landing  where  they  are  reloaded  on  to  the 

The  tents  are  struck  and  put  on  the  boat  for  fear  we  may  not 
reach  the  Grand  Chute  before  night.  In  that  case  we  will  have 
to  camp,  for  we  can  not  run  the  rapids  after  dark.  It  is  but 
eight  miles  from  Kaukauna  to  the  Grand  Chute.  If  we  have 
an  hour  and  a  half  or  two  hours  of  daylight  after  arriving  at 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

the  latter,  we  can  unload  and  run  the  boat  back  to  Kaukauna 
tonight.  That  depends  on  how  soon  the  teams  will  haul 
enough  freight  to  load  the  boat  to  suit  the  present  stage  of 
water.  A  half  hour's  delay  here  may  make  a  difference  of 
nearly  a  day  in  the  rapids.  I  have  directed  the  agent  to  hurry 
up  the  teams. 

The  boat  and  crew  are  now  ready  for  a  start.  That  tall,  fine- 
looking  Indian  at  the  bow  is  Blacksmith'0,  my  pilot,  and  he  is 
one  of  the  best  on  the  river.  His  only  fault  is  that  like  the 
rest  of  the  race,  he  is  too  fond  of  whiskey. 

Notice  how  the  water  has  here  spread  out,  forming  a  small, 
shallow  lake;  but  on  the  other  side  in  the  bight,  or  bend  of  the 
bay,  it  is  much  deeper.  The  roar  of  the  waters  as  they 
rush  down  the  rapids  is  much  louder.  You  will  soon  see,  as 
well  as  hear,  the  turmoil  as  they  plunge  down  an  incline  of 
nearly  forty  feet  in  a  little  more  than  a  mile. 

Now  comes  the  struggle  of  man  with  the  physical  forces  of 
nature.  The  steering  oar  is  unshipped ;  the  mast  is  lashed 
across  thei  boat  to  one  of  the  beams,  ten  or  twelve  feet  from 
the  bow ;  the  tow-line  is  made  fast  on  one  side,  the  same  dis- 
tance from  the  bow,  and  coiled  ready  for  use.  The  men  now 
arrange  themselves  around  the  boat.  The  pilot  is  at  the  bow, 
with  his  arm  around  the  projecting  point  of  the  stem,  where 
he  has  a  good  purchase;  there  are  two  or  three  behind  him 
on  either  side,  to  assist  in  changing  the  direction  of  the  boat; 
two  or  more  are  placed  at  the  mast,  where  it  projects  beyond 
the  boat ;  the  rest  take  their  positions  along  the  sides.  They 
have  a  good  hold  on  the  inner  side  of  the  walking  board,  to  lift, 
push,  or  hold  on. 

The  water  varies  in  depth  from  about  two  feet  to  four,  and 
the  rocky  bottom  is  very  uneven.  Notice  how  the  men  cross  with 
the  boat  from  one  side  of  the  river  to  the  other.  They  do  not 
turn  and  point  the  bow  straight  for  the  other  shore.  The  craft 
must  be  kept  parallel  with  the  trend  or  course  of  the  stream. 
If  in  a  very  still  current,  with  rocks  protruding  here  and  there, 

"For  this  Indian,  whose  aboriginal  name  was  Wistweaw,  see  ante; 
also  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  xi,  pp.  399,  400.  Mrs.  Kinzie  calls  him  "the  most 
accomplished  guide  through  the  difficult  passes  of  the  river;"  see  her 
Waubun,  passim. — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

the  boat  should  take  a  swing  and  the  men  lose  control  of  it,  it 
would  either  fill  with  water  and  capsize,  or  becoming  a  perfect 
wreck  endanger  the  lives  of  the  crew.  The  pole  lashed  across 
the  bow  is  a  great  help  in  such  cases;  one  man  alone  can  do 
what  it  would  take  four  or  five  to  accomplish  by  other  means. 

Here  the  river  runs  north  of  east,  and  at  the  foot  of  the  rapids 
makes  a  big  turn  to  the  north.  We  are  going  up  on  the 
north  side  of  an  island,  formed  by  a  small  outlet  on  the  south. 
The  island  is  covered  with  timber,  mostly  red  cedar. 

The  Stockbridge  Mission 

Here  we  are  safe  and  sound,  moored  at  the  upper  landing 
in  a  little  pool  or  eddy  formed  by  a  wing-dam  made  by  Augus- 
tin  Grignon  to  run  a  grist-mill  which  for  many  years  he  used 
frequently.  To  the  south  you  have  a  view  of  part  of  the  Stock- 
bridge  settlement.  On  that  interval  of  low-lying  land  between 
the  river  and  the  hill  to  the  south,  are  several  dwellings  ex- 
tending up  and  down  the  river  for  one  or  two  miles.  These 
belong  to  the  Presbyterian  Mission,  of  which  the  Rev.  Mr.  Miner 
has  charge.11  His  dwelling,  out-houses,  and  other  necessary 
structures  are  about  the  centre  of  the  tract.  The  situation  is  a 
pleasing  one — the  river  in  front,  backed  by  the  green  hills  and 
the  towering  forest,  with  intervening  farms  and  dwellings. 

The  Stockbridges  are  both  physically  and  intellectually  a 
much  finer  race  than  the  other  New  York  Indians.  They  are 
more  civilized,  live  more  like  the  whites,  and  show  less  of  the 
Indian  in  their  character  and  habits.  Their  dwellings  are  bet- 
ter built,  their  farms  better  cultivated,  and  all  their  surround- 
ings show  more  brains,  thrift,  and  enterprise.  Their  farms 
extend  about  four  miles,  from  Kaukauna  to  the  Cedars,  well 
banked  from  the  river,  for  the  frontage  of  the  stream  is  much 
broken  in  places;  their  land  is  well  timbered  and  of  heavy 

"  For  documents  on  the  Stockbridge  mission,  see  Wis.  Hist.  Colls., 
xv,  pp.  39  ft,  including  the  papers  of  the  Rev.  Jesse  Miner. — Ed. 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 


The  teams  have  arrived  with  their  loads — eight  of  them, 
which  means  between  seven  and  eight  tons.  We  will  hurry 
and  unload  the  wagons,  and  in  about  two  hours  be  ready  to 
start  for  the  Grand  Chute. 

Wei  soon  take  the  stream,  the  water  reaching  to  the  knees 
and  often  to  the  waist,  as  it  rushes  foaming  past.  With  a  death- 
like grip  the  men  cling  to  their  hold,  and  step  by  step  force 
the  boat  against  the  swift-running  current.  True  to  his  in- 
stinct, the  pilot  motions  with  his  hand  the  direction  to  take, 
straight  ahead  or  to  the  right  or  left,  always  careful  to  keep 
the  boat  in  line  with  the  current. 

We  are  now  passing  Daniel  Whitney's  potashery.  This  is 
one  of  the  enterprises  that  he  has  carried  on  for  a  number 
of  years  in  places  where  ashes  could  be  obtained.  When  the 
Stockbridges  located  here  he  opened  a  store  and  building  an 
ashery  induced  them  to  save  all  the  ashes  they  made,  either  in 
their  dwellings,  or  from  log  heaps  they  burned  in  clearing  their 
farms.  As  the  timber  was  very  heavy  and  mostly  of  hard 
wood,  a  large  quantity  of  the  best  ashes  were  obtained  and  con- 
verted into  potash  at  a  good  profit  to  Mr.  Whitney  and  to  the 
great  benefit  of  the  Indians. 

Here  for  more  than  a  mile  the  river  is  deep  and  the  current 
swift  and  strong.  The  banks  are  broken  by  gulches  on  either 
side.  The  higher  land  advancing  and  receding  at  short  inter- 
vals, leaves  but  small  strips  of  low  or  meadow  land,  so  that  the 
location  on  the  river  bank  is  not  as  desirable  and  pleasant  here 
as  below  Kaukauna.  For  this  reason  the  Indians  have  built 
their  dwellings  and  opened  their  farms  back  from  the  river. 
It  is  only  now  and  then  you  catch  a  sight  of  their  homes,  their 
clearings  seldom  reaching  the  stream. 

The  Little  Chute,  a  little  over  three  miles  from  Kaukauna,  is 
not  a  difficult  point  to  pass — the  lift  of  the  rock  is  only  eighteen 
or  twenty  inches,  and  as  the  river  widens  some  the  flow  is 
lessened.  At  the  place  we  pass  up,  the  rock  has  been  cut  away, 
to  render  it  more  easy  to  pass  up  or  down. 

Wcare  now  passing  a  low,  open  glade  on  our  right,  with  a 
high  bold  bank  to  the  left,  which  is  called  the  Cedars.     Why  it 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

is  so  called  I  cannot  tell,  for  the  timber  is  hard  wood — white 
and  black  oak,  of  the  finest  growth,  tall  and  straight. 

The  poling  is  good,  although  the  current  is  strong  but  lessen- 
ing as  we  progress,  for  the  still  water  is  near.  When  we  pass 
that  bold  jutting  point  to  the  right  Ave  will  enter  a  placid 
stream,  languidly  moving  along  as  if  fatigued  with  its  struggle 
over  the  rocks  above  and  forgetful  of  the  obstructions  below. 
The  change  is  sudden  from  the  noise  and  turmoil  of  the  water 
as  it  rushes  among  the  rocks  below,  to  the  stillness  of  this  gentle 
stream  as  it  flows  with  scarce  a  ripple  on  its  smooth  surface. 
As  we  pass  along  up  the  stream  we  catch  the  echo  of  rushing 
water  tumbling  from  obtruding  rocks,  low  at  first  but  louder 
as  we  advance,  until  the  whole  scene  bursts  upon  us  of  a  wide, 
mad  river  falling  four  feet  over  a  perpendicular  rock,  and  then 
rushing  on  for  more  than  a  mile  over  hidden  and  protruding 
rocks  until  it  is  lashed  into  foam. 

The  Grand  Chute 

We  are  now  approaching  the  Grande  Roche.  We  will  put  up 
our  poles  and  take  to  the  water.  This  is  the  most  difficult  place 
on  the  river  to  pass  with  a  loaded  boat.  It  is  similar  in  its 
formation  to  the  Croche,  only  on  a  larger  scale;  the  river  is 
contracted  by  the  west  bank,  forming  a  point,  while  the  east 
shore  is  almost  straight.  The  banks  are  abrupt  and  high,  and  as 
you  turn  the  point  the  river  spreads  out  into  a  bay  towards 
the  west,  making  a  great  curve  to  the  Grand  Chute  above.  The 
current  on  the  east  side,  flowing  in  nearly  a  straight  line, 
meets  the  flow  from  the  curved  line  and  causes  a  cross  current 
that  piles  up  the  water  in  great  confusion  and  makes  the  pas- 
sage difficult.  With  a  smooth  rock  bottom  and  great  boulders 
strewn  about,  many  quite  near  the  surface,  with  insufficient 
water  above  them  to  float  the  boat,  it  requires  great  care  to 
guide  the  craft  in  safety  through  this  turmoil.  As  the  water 
is  deep,  often  reaching  to  the  armpits,  it  paralyzes  half  the 
strength  of  the  men;  their  only  safety  is  to  cling  to  the  boat 
and  inch  by  inch  force  her  through  the  flood. 

The  roar  of  the  Chute  above,  mingling  with  the  noise  of  the 
fast-flowing  rapids  below  and  around,  tries  the  strength  and 
courage  of  the  hardy  boatmen,  but  they  are  equal  to  the  task. 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

AVitli  a  whoop  and  a  rush  they  enter  the  troubled  water  and 
breast  the  fearful  tide;  the  victory  is  soon  won,  the  haven  is 

From  here  you  get  a  front  view  of  the  whole  scene — the 
Grand  Chute,  about  a  mile  away,  pouring  its  water  over  a  rocky 
ledge.  As  it  strikes  the  inclined  ledge  below  it  is  beaten  into 
a  sea  of  foam,  which  like  flakes  of  snow  is  carried  down  the 
stream  at  railroad  speed.  The  banks  around  the  bay  are  high, 
bold,  abrupt,  reaching  to  the  water's  edge,  covered  as  usual 
with  a  heavy  and  thrifty  growth  of  timber.  From  this  camp- 
ing ground  a  trail  leads  to  another  above  the  Chute,  over  which 
portages  were  made  by  the  earlier  navigators;  it  leads  over 
the  hills  to  the  right,  a  long  and  tedious  walk,  but  there  is  no 
other  path,  for  the  bluffs  along  the  river  shore  bar  the  way. 

Let  us  pass  on  and  up,  for  our  time  is  short,  and  we  have 
much  hard  work  to  do  before  we  reach  our  goal.  We  must 
take  to  the  water  again,  for  poles  are  useless  against  the  strong 
current,  and  numerous  protruding  rocks  strew  the  way. 

To  the  right,  where  the  ledge  starts  from  that  high,  steep 
bank,  is  the  point  where  we  land  and  unload.  You  can  see  the 
ladders  laid  along  the  shore  close  under  the  bluff,  supported  on 
stone,  to  raise  them  above  the  shallow  water.  These  ladders 
extend  a  short  distance  above  the  Chute  to  a  landing  that  has 
been  dug  out  of  the  bluff,  forming  a  platform  large  enough  to 
store  the  goods  and  pitch  a  tent  in  case  of  need.  On  this  side, 
also,  Ave  will  pass  the  boat  over  the  Chute,  as  there  is  a  Igreater 
flow  of  water  here  than  on  the  other  side.  We  now  unload  the 
boat  and  leave  two  or  three  men  to  move  the  freight  to  the 
upper  landing  and  look  to  its  safety. 

The  boat  now  being  lightened,  away  she  goes  down  the 
stream,  with  the  swiftness  of  the  wind.  Notice  how  the  pilot 
steers  the  boat,  straight  for  that  big  boulder  that  seems  to  ap- 
proach us  so  rapidly.  As  the  boat  nears  the  rock  the  bow  is 
raised  by  the  piling  up  of  the  water  above  it,  and  she  gracefully 
glides  to  one  side  as  if  making  her  obeisance  to  the  passing 
rock,  the  pilot  at  the  same  time  moving  the  stern  in  the  same 
direction,  which  brings  the  boat  parallel  with  the  current.  Thus 
on  we  go  at  race-horse  speed  from  rock  to  rock,  the  shores,  banks, 
and  trees  gliding  past,  while  it  seems  as  if  we  alone  stood  still. 

We  are  now  approaching  the  still  water,  and  will  use  the 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

oars  again.  The  crew,  to  relieve  the  tedium  of  the  slow  pas- 
sage down  this  stretch  of  dull  water,  give  us  a  lively  French 
boatman's  song.  They  use  a  short,  quick  stroke  and  beat  the 
time  with  their  oars.  The  leader  first  sings  a  line  of  the  song 
and  repeats  it;  then  the  chorus  is  sung  by  the  whole  crew  with 
a  force  and  strength  that  makes  the  welkin  ring  as  the  echoes 
roll  back  from  shore  to  shore. 

Lay  by  the  oars,  for  the  rapids  are  near.  The  ripple  of  fast- 
flowing  water  is  around  us,  the  rocks  seem  again  to  be  going  up 
the  stream,  the  forest  flying  swiftly  by.  We  are  now  passing 
the  Cedars;  how  quickly  and  smoothly  we  glide  along! 

We  near  the  Little  Chute,  whose  roaring  we  now  can  hear. 
See  the  foaming  crest  as  the  water  plunges  over  the  ledge. 
Through  it  we  rush  so  quickly  that  ere  we  realize  where  we  are 
the  Chute  is  past  and  far  astern,  the  crew  shouting  with  all 
their  might  at  the  successful  plunge  we  made.  On  we  speed 
like  a  bird  on  the  wing;  the  ashery  is  past  and  we  hear  the 
rumbling  of  Kaukauna  Rapids  below.  Our  landing  is  reached, 
and  the  boat  rounded  to  with  the  bow  up  stream,  ready  for  her 
second  load. 

Thus  one  day's  work  in  the  rapids  is  completed.  We  are  not 
always  so  successful,  but  everything  has  been  in  our  favor — the 
water  at  a  good  stage,  the  day  long  and  the  weather  fine,  with 
no  rain  to  hinder  us.  Besides,  I  had  the  pick  of  the  extra  men, 
for  there  is  no  other  boat  in  the  rapids.  Very  low  or  very  high 
water,  short  days,  rain,  and  several  boats  on  the  river  at  the 
same  time,  combine  to  lengthen  the  time  of  transit  and  of  course 
to  increase  the  cost. 

You  and  I,  my  reader,  will  not  ride  up  on  the  boat  to-morrow, 
but  walk.  As  soon  as  she  leaves  the  landing  we  will  start,  for  it 
is  only  eight  or  nine  miles  on  a  good  trail,  and  this  will  take 
us  about  three  hours.  You  can  see  the  lay  of  the  land  and 
enjoy  the  beautiful  scenery  along  the  banks  and  admire  the 
splendid  forest  trees  that  crown  the  land.  I  will  take  my  gun 
along,  for  we  may  get  a  partridge  or  two,  or  some  other  game. 

We  should  be  able  to  got  the  boat  over  the  Grand  Chute,  load 
her  and  go  into  camp  at  the  Grand  Encampment  before  dark, 
and  to-morrow  reach  Big  Butte  des  Morts.  We  are  now  about 
half  way  to  the  Chute  from  Kaukauna ;  this  is  a  much  travelled 

[  202  ] 

Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

trail  and  has  been  used  for  hundreds  of  years  by  the  natives 
of  the  region.  See  how  deep  the  path  is  worn  by  the  travel  of 
the  light-stepping  savages. 

Here  is  the  lower  Grand  Encampment,  where  we  were  yester- 
day, in  full  view  of  and  below  the  Chute.  The  trail  turns  here 
to  the  right  and  follows  around  the  bay  over  some  deep  gullies. 
There  comes  the  boat,  just  through  the  Grande  Roche.  See  them 
breast  the  stream,  each  man  doing  his  best,  for  they  know  that 
this  is  the  last  long  pull  to  reach  the  Chute,  and  their  day 's  work 
is  nearly  done. 

To  unload  the  boat  and  pull  her  over  the  Chute  is  a  short  job 
with  the  number  of  men  and  the  appliances  we  have.  While  the 
crew  are  unloading,  the  extra  men  will  move  the  balance  of  the 
freight  to  the  upper  landing.  We  will  then  be  ready  to  pass 
the  boat  over  the  Chute.  The  purchase  we  use  is  two  strong 
blocks,  with  a  suitable  line.  The  first  block  is  hooked  into  the 
ring  of  the  eyebolt  in  the  stem  of  the  boat,  and  the  tackle  is 
fleeted ;  the  other  block  is  made  fast  to  that  large  tree  above  the 
Chute,  which  is  in  line  with  the  pull.  A  snatch-block  is  also 
used,  through  which  the  fall  is  led  that  enables  the  men  to  stand 
on  the  shore,  which  gives  them  a  better  chance  to  pull,  besides 
increasing  the  power  of  the  purchase.  Some  of  the  rock  has, 
for  quite  a  space,  been  removed  from  the  top  of  the  ledge,  form- 
ing an  inclined  plane,  which  increases  the  flow  at  that  point, 
lessens  the  lift,  and  renders  it  much  easier  to  ascend. 

The  boat  is  now  moved  out  to  the  place  of  ascent,  the  purchase 
is  hooked  on,  and  we  are  ready.  As  the  strain  on  the  purchase 
increases,  the  men  at  the  bow  of  the  boat  lift  all  their  might 
At  first  she  moves  slowly,  but  when  she  strikes  the  broader  part 
of  her  bottom  it  aids  the  men  to  lift,  and  the  blocks  and  tackle 
do  the  rest.  Hand-over-hand,  with  shouts  that  almost  drown  the 
roar  of  the  Chute,  this  noisy  crew  land  the  boat  at  the  upper 
landing,  which  is  a  couple  of  boat-lengths  above  the  brink  of 
the  falls. 

Grand  Encampment 

The  worst  obstacle  has  been  met  and  overcome.  The  rest 
of  the  journey  is  in  comparison,  but  play.  We  have  time  to 
reach  the  upper  Grand  Encampment  before  dark.     This  is  an 

14  [  203  ] 

Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

old  trading  post,  owned  by  Charles  Grignon,  situated  on  a  low 
piece  of  land  and  a  mile  or  so  above  the  Chute,  where  the  early 
voyagers  packed  their  goods  in  passing  up  or  down  the  rapids.  A 
road  is  now  being  made  from  Kaukauna  to  this  point,  to  save 
the  wear  and  tear  of  the  boats  and  also  to  lessen  the  expense  in 
money  and  time. 

The  scenery  along  the  shores  is  changing.  We  are  leaving 
the  higher  lands  behind  and  entering  a  lower  range  of  country ; 
the  flow  of  the  stream  is  slow  and  gradually  expanding;  the 
timber  is  not  so  fine,  being  of  a  more  scrubby  growth  than 
below.  We  will  rest  here  on  this  old  camp  ground  in  peace  and 
quiet  for  the  night,  and  not  trouble  ourselves  with  the  cares  of 

Breakfast  being  stowed  away  next  morning,  the  tent  is  struck, 
the  mast  put  in  place,  and  we  hoist  the  canvas  and  sail  away 
over  the  bright  water  of  this  glorious  river.  We  do  not  often 
have  such  a  chance  as  this ;  but  we  always  take  it  when  it  comes, 
for  the  poling  through  this  stretch  of  the  river  to  Lake  Butte 
des  Morts  is  difficult  on  account  of  the  muddy,  oozy  bed  of  the 
stream.  The  poles  are  laid  aside,  and  the  oars  are  now  useless; 
the  sail  is  up,  the  boat  is  on  the  wing,  and  apparently  by  her 
own  volition  she  plows  a  broad  furrow  through  the  limpid 

Little  Butte  des  Morts 

We  are  now  entering  Little  Butte  des  Morts  Lake — so  named 
from  a  mound  or  Indian  burying  ground,  the  site  of  the  Indian 
treaty  of  1827.  The  beautiful  lake,  with  a  varied  conformation 
of  high  and  low  lands,  sweeps  around  in  a  grand  circuit  of 
several  miles.  On  the  east  side,  where  the  curve  begins,  are  two 
inlets  flowing  from  Lake  Winnebago,  forming  a  large  island 
called  Four  Legs,  the  name  of  one  of  the  principal  Winnebago 
chiefs,  who  has  a  considerable  village  on  the  eastern  end  of 
the  island.12  These  inlets  are  the  Winnebago  Rapids.  The  east 
side  of  the  lake,  as  well  as  the  island,  is  covered  with  a  fine 
dense  growth  of  timber  of  various  kinds,  while  at  the  west  and 
south,  around  the  head  of  the  lake,  the  timber  is  sparse  and 
prairie  land  begins. 

"For  this  chief  see  Powell's  "Recollections,"  ante. — Ed. 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

Winnebago  Rapids 

Here  we  are  at  the  foot  of  the  "Winnebago  Rapids.  Take  in 
the  sails  and  man  the  poles.  The  place  where  we  stop  to  unload 
a  part  of  our  cargo  is  an  old  camp-ground,  a  short  distance  above 
this  to  the  left,  on  Four  Legs  Island.  I  will  send  a  man  abov$ 
to  measure  the  water  at  the  shoalest  place,  so  that  I  can  load 
the  boat  to  suit  the  depth,  for  the  depth  of  water  she  draws  is 
marked  on  stem  and  stern.  These  rapids  are  not  difficult  to 
pass,  save  for  the  shallow  places  and  the  trouble  of  unloading 
and  loading  and  making  the  two  trips.  This  is  the  western 
branch  of  the  rapids,  where  there  is  more  water  and  fewer 
boulders  than  in  the  eastern.  We  will  use  the  poles  and  not 
have  to  wade,  unless  we  ground  the  boat  on  some  of  the  shoal 
places;  then  we  will  have  to  take  to  the  water  to  get  her  off. 
The  water  is  reported  at  a  fair  stage.  I  will  take  the  larger 
half  of  the  load  this  time,  choosing  the  lighter  articles  and  those 
that  will  be  loaded  on  top  when  we  reload. 

The  place  where  we  will  load  our  boat  for  the  last  time  on 
the  lower  Fox,  is  a  point  formed  by  Lake  Winnebago  on  one 
side  and  a  curve  or  bend  of  the  river  on  the  other,  making  a 
little  cove  or  bay,  safe  from  the  wind.  It  is,  and  has  been  from 
olden  time,  a  favorite  camping  ground  of  the  Indians  and  voy- 
ageurs  in  this  region — a  beautiful  place,  with  banks  of  moderate 
height  covered  with  verdant  grass,  crowned  by  a  growth  of 
grand  old  trees  that  have  given  shade  and  shelter  to  the 
aborigines  for  hundreds  of  years.  This  is  the  point  where  the 
hardy  boatman  abides  his  time  to  cross  the  lake — a  harbor  of 
refuge  from  storms  that  at  times  sweep  over  its  water. 

Lake  Winnebago 

Here  we  are  in  good  time  at  this  beautiful  camping  ground. 
Lake  Winnebago  is  surrounded  on  the  north  and  east  by  a  dense 
forest,  mostly  of  various  kinds  of  hard  wood.  Beginning  at 
the  eastern  outlet,  the  shores  gradually  rise  until  you  reach  the 
eastern  side,  where  the  banks  become  bluffs  on  a  base  of  lime- 
stone of  considerable  height.  This  formation  continues  for 
several  miles  up  the  lake.     Then  the  high  lands  begin  to  recede 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

from  the  shore,  and  the  low  lands  gradually  widen  and  expand 
into  broad  prairies  at  the  head  of  the  lake,  and  on  the  west  side 
as  far  up  as  the  Big  Butte  des  Morts;  they  extend  also  many 
miles  to  the  south. 

On  the  east  end  of  Four  Legs  Island,  you  can  see  his  village 
of  huts,  built  of  bark  supported  on  poles.  Some  of  the  lodges 
are  twenty  feet  long,  ten  feet  wide,  and  seven  or  eight  feet  high, 
rounded  at  the  top  with  a  space  for  the  smoke  to  escape.  This 
is  his  summer  camp ;  here  he  gathers  his  wild  rice,  plants  his 
corn  and  vegetables,  dries  hissfish,  and  hunts  his  summer  game. 

Four  Legs  is  one  of  the  principal  Winnebago  chiefs,  and  in- 
fluential with  his  people.  I  first  saw  him  in  1826,  when  he 
passed  through  Green  Bay  on  his  way  to  Drummond  Island, 
where  the  British  had  a  garrison  and  distributed  presents  to 
the  various  tribes  tliat  had  been  loyal  to  them.  He  was  then 
accompanied  by  a  suite  of  ten  or  twelve  men  and  two  or  three 
women,  and  escorted  by  his  son-in-law,  a  'white  man  named 
Gleason,  as  far  as  Green  Bay.  This  man  Gleason13  was  a 
singular  genius;  undoubtedly  he  was  a  Yankee  by  birth,  shrewd, 
cunning,  always  looking  out  for  number  one.  He  had  estab- 
lished a  trading  post  on  the  east  side  of  Lake  Puckaway,  and 
did  a  fair  amount  of  trade  through  the  influence  of  his 
Indian  father-in-law.  His  wife  was  neither  comely  nor  inter- 
esting, either  in  figure,  face,  or  motion;  her  walk  was  like  that 
of  a  sailor,  and  their  two  children  had  the  same  peculiarity. 
Gleason  explained  it  in  this  way:  when  he  built  his  house,  no 
sawed  lumber  was  to  be  had  for  the  floor,  so  he  split  the  logs 
in  halves,  stripped  the  bark,  and  laid  the  round  side  up,  which 
corrugated  the  floor.  His  wife  and  children  walking  over  these 
puncheons,  gave  this  peculiar  motion  to  their  gait.  I  have 
often  been  in  the  house,  for  our  boats  generally  had  something 
for  Gleason  in  the  shape  of  goods  or  provisions.  He  was  one 
of  father's  customers,  being  supplied  by  him  with  goods,  for 
which  he  gave  furs  in  return — mostly  coon  skins  and  badger, 
these  being  scarce  in  our  part  of  the  territory. 

When  Four  Legs  returned  from  Drummond  Island,  he  was 
fitted  out  with  a   scarlet  coat  adorned  with  gilt  buttons  and 

,s  For  Luther  Gleason,  said  to  be  from  Vermont,  see  Wis.  Hist.  Colls., 
vli,  passim;  also  Waubun,  pp.  54,  56,  350. — Ed. 



Winnebago  chief,  as  he  appeared  at  the  Treaty  of  Green  Bay,  1827 
Fioni  colored  lithograph  by  James  Otto  Lewis 

Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

lace,  and  was  topped  by  a  much  ornamented  cocked  hat.  Glea- 
son,  who  came  down  while  he  was  at  the  Bay,  advised  father 
to  give  the  chief  a  suit  and  dinner,  which  he  did.  A  sumptuous 
feast  was  prepared  and  set  forth  in  an  outhouse,  and  the  chief 
and  his  companions  enjoyed  it  without  stint.  Gleason  was 
toast-master  and  dispensed '  the  tea  (the  only  beverage)  with 
a  princely  hand  befitting  the  son-in-law  of  the  head-chief  of  a 
free  and  independent  nation.  -m 

All  aboard  for  Big  Butte  des  Morts.  To  get  good  polingr 
we  shall  have  to  follow  the  meanderings  of  the  various  bays, 
which  lengthens  the  distance,  but  the  wind  is  off  shore  and 
this  gives  us  smooth  water. 

How  smoothly  and  easily  the  boat  with  her  load  of  thirty  tons 
moves  along  under  the  force  of  the  poles.  She  makes  about 
ninety  feet  at  each  set  and  rise,  which  will  give  us  over  thirty 
miles  a  day.  It  is  about  130  miles  from  Big  Butte  des  Morts  to 
Fort  "Winnebago,  but  we  will  make  it  easily  in  four  daySj, 
weather  permitting. 

Garlic  Island  marks  about  ten  miles  from  the  head  of  Win- 
nebago Rapids ;  Big  Butte  des  Morts,  where  we  will  camp,  is 
four  miles  farther.  This  island  cut  quite  a  figure  in  the  "War 
of  1812,  being  the  headquarters  of  Col.  Robert  Dickson,  British 
agent  and  superintendent  of  the  Western  tribes.14  It  is  a 
beautiful  island,  a  few  rods  only  from  the  mainland,  round  in 
form,  with  a  small  crescent-shaped  bay  on  the  land  side.  There 
are  no  large  trees  upon  it,  but  a  thrifty  growth  of  young  sap- 
lings as  thick  as  they  can  grow,  surrounding  a  cleared  space 
of  about  an  acre  in  the  centre,  forming  a  complete  windbreak 
and  shelter  from  every  storm.  It  is  the  completest  camp-ground 
I  ever  stepped  on.  There  is  a  heavy  growth  of  long  tangled 
grass,  as  soft  and  yielding  as  a  feather  bed.  I  wish  I  might 
avail  myself  of  it  tonight,  but  we  must  leave  this  paradise  of 
camps  and  push  on  to  Big  Butte  des  Morts. 

"William  Powell,  in  his  "Recollections",  ante,  p.  151,  states  that 
Dickson's  headquarters,  the  winter  of  1813-14,  were  on  the  neighbor- 
ing mainland.  But  Arndt's  memory  appears  to  be  confirmed  by  the 
fact  that  in  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  xi,  p.  278,  is  a  letter  by  Dickson,  dated 
specifically  "Garlic  Island";  although  others  of  his  many  letters  dur- 
ing the  winter,  in  the  same  volume,  are  dated  merely  "Winebagoe 
Lake"  or  "Lac  Puant". — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

Here  is  our  camp-ground;  pitch  the  tent,  prepare  and  eat 
our  evening  meal,  and  rest  until  the  morning  star  warns  us  of 
the  near  approach  of  another  day. 

Big  Butte  des  Morts 

Big  Butte  des  Morts  was  once  the  site  of  an  old  Indian  vil- 
lage. The  land  is  high  and  covered  with  a  fine  growth  of  tim- 
ber, with  intervals  of  open  grassy  glades.  The  lake  is  of  con- 
siderable extent,  with  its  receding  bays  and  jutting  points,  dot- 
ted here  and  there  with  islands  of  various  forms,  adding  much 
to  the  beauty  of  the  scene. 

As  we  pass  along  to  where  the  upper  Fox  enters  this  lake, 
I  will  explain  our  commissary  department.  Our  staple  pro- 
visions consist  of  salt  pork,  flour,  beans,  wild  rice,  tea,  and 
sugar,  supplemented  by  game,  fish,  or  fowl  that  we  gather  along 
our  way.  The  men  all  know  how  to  cook  this  simple  fare ;  the 
best  one  is  chosen,  however,  and  the  others  assist.  The  cooking 
is  mostly  done  at  night,  soup  being  the  favorite  dish,  made  with 
wild  rice  or  beans,  pork,  and  other  meat.  The  meat  is  put 
into  a  large  camp-kettle  with  sufficient  water,  and  at  the  right 
time  the  rice  or  beans  which  have  been  soaked  during  the  day, 
are  put  in  and  boiled  all  night  with  a  slow  fire,  so  as  not  to 
burn  or  scorch.  It  will  be  ready  for  our  breakfast  and  also  for 
dinner;  for  supper,  the  meat  and  potatoes  (if  we  have  any)  will 
be  fried.  We  have  tea  at  every  meal,  plenty  of  it,  hot  and 
well  sweetened.  This  saves  time,  for  all  we  have  to  do  when 
we  stop  for  breakfast  or  dinner  is  to  boil  the  water  for  this 

We  always  travel  an  hour  or  two  before  breakfast,  which 
gives  us  a  good  appetite  and  the  soup  is  then  just  at  the  right 
temperature.  We  often  vary  this  when  we  get  a  fat  deer,  by 
roasting  a  part  of  it  during  the  night  to  supplement  our  break- 
fast and  dinner.  For  our  bread,  we  mix  flour  and  water  to  the 
right  consistency,  with  salt  and  a  little  saleratus;  the  dough  is 
then  put  into  a  large  frying  pan  and  turned  frequently  until 
it  is  hard  enough  to  stand  on  its  edge  without  bending  or  break- 
ing. It  is  then  placed  on  edge  around  the  fire,  supported  by  a 
board  or  a  couple  of  sticks,  near  enough  to  brown  it  nicely  and 
not  burn ;  the  change  from  side  to  side  is  frequently  made,  to  in- 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

sure  success  and  bake  it  through  and  through.  All  of  this 
cooking  is  done  neatly  and  with  dispatch;  and  all  the  utensils 
used  are  washed,  wiped,  and  put  away  in  a  large  mess  chest, 
ready  for  use  after  each  meal. 

The  Upper  Fox 

If  my  reader  will  steer  the  boat  for  a  little  while,  I  will  take 
the  extra  pole  and  see  if  another  man  increases  the  speed. 
Hold  on,  you  have  missed  the  Fox,  you  are  going  up  the  Wolf; 
you  should  have  turned  to  the  left.  That  narrow  opening 
through  the  weeds  and  grass  is  the  upper  Fox.  This  is  a 
custom  established  by  the  early  navigators  of  the  river.  When 
the  boat  or  canoe  arrives  at  this  point,  the  stranger  is  asked  to 
steer.  If  he  misses  the  upper  Fox,  and  takes  to  the  Wolf,  as 
you  have  done,  he  pays  a  small  forfeit  to  the  crew.  This  gen- 
erally is  a  bottle  or  so  of  wine  or  whiskey,  deliverable  on  our 
arrival  at  Fort  Winnebago. 

Now  starboard  your  helm  and  run  her  through  that  narrow 
gap,  and  we  will  soon  see  the  upper  Fox.  The  scenery  at  and 
near  this  entrance  of  the  river  to  Lake  Butte  des  Morts  would 
be  tame  and  uninteresting  if  it  were  not  for  the  grand  sweep 
of  prairie  land,  seen  through  vistas  of  timberland  on  the  east; 
while  on  the  west  side  it  is  low  and  swampy,  backed  by  high 
timbered  land  in  the  distance.  The  current  of  the  river  is 
slow,  there  being  but  thirty  feet  of  fall  from  the  Portage  to 
this  place,  about  125  miles.  It  is  supposed  to  be  as  crooked  a 
navigable  river  as  ever  was  made.  The  Indian  legend  of  its 
formation  is  something  like  this: 

An  Indian  Myth15 

Long,  long  ago,  soon  after  the  beginning  of  things,  a  mon- 
strous serpent,  wise  and  cunning,  lived  in  the  Mississippi  River. 
He  became  dissatisfied  with  his  home  and  desired  to  visit  the 
Great  Lakes.  So  one  day  in  the  early  spring  he  started  on  hia 
journey.  He  first  ascended  Wisconsin  Eiver,  making  a  great 
noise   and  commotion,   throwing  up   sand  banks   and  making 

11  See  allusion  to  this  myth  in  Waubun,  pp.  56,  57. — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

shallow  places,  completely  changing  the  natural  flow  of  the 
river  which  before  this  had  been  a  beautiful  running  stream 
without  obstructions.  "When  he  arrived  at  the  Portage  the 
water  from  the  Wisconsin  was  flowing  over  it,  in  a  northerly 
direction.  The  ground  over  which  the  water  flowed  from  the 
Wisconsin  wras  low  and  swampy,  being  nearly  level;  the  water 
was  shallow  and  ran  very  slow  and  spread  over  a  large  tract 
of  country.  He  made  his  way  over  and  through  this  shallow 
water  until  he  struck  a  small  stream  flowing  north.  He  plunged 
in  and  soon  widened  and  deepened  its  narrow  channel  to  ac- 
commodate his  huge  body  and  gather  in  the  water  flowing 
across  the  Portage  and  help  him  along  on  his  journey.  He 
worked  and  wormed  along  in  many  directions,  seeking  a  better 
place  to  pass.  At  last,  after  many  turns  from  north  to  south 
and  from  west  to  east  he  found  the  place  that  he  thought  would 
do.  He  soon  cleared  a  space  sufficiently  large  to  suit  him, 
and  as  the  abundant  game  suited  his  taste  he  concluded  to  re- 
main and  enjoy  himself  as  best  he  might!  This  place  is  now 
called  Mud  Lake. 

He  remained  here  during  many  moons,  gorging  himself  with 
his  favorite  food,  until  he  had  consumed  or  driven  away  his 
supply.  Hunger  forced  him  to  renew  his  journey.  He  now 
struck  a  different  formation  of  sand,  thrown  up  into  ridges  and 
hillocks,  the  drift  of  the  glacial  period.  Of  this  he  made  short 
work,  soon  throwing  out  a  long  channel  of  considerable  width 
and  several  miles  in  length  which  became  a  long  narrow  lake, 
called  by  the  Indians  Buffalo  Lake,  because  the  last  buffalo  ever 
seen  in  this  part  of  the  country  was  chased  into  it  and  drowned. 

Here  the  serpent  remained  for  some  time.  Buffalo  and  deer 
were  plenty  and  he  enjoyed  himself  right  royally.  The  water 
increased  and  formed  a  large  lake;  a  high  bank,  or  moraine, 
formed  a  dam  and  held  the  water  back.  The  noise  and  con- 
fusion he  made  caused  the  game  to  leave  this  region.  Having 
nothing  to  eat,  he  concluded  to  continue  his  journey,  broke 
through  the  opposing  bank,  and  he  and  the  water  rushed  on  to 
the  next  resting  place,  which  was  but  a  short  distance  below, 
where  another  bank  intervened  and  barred  the  way  for  a  time. 
But  exerting  his  tremendous  strength  he  removed  the  obstruc- 
tion and  moved  on,  leaving  still  another  lake,  now  called  Puck- 
away,  from  its  many  reeds  or  rushes,  of  which  the  Indians 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

make  their  mats.  The  laud  to  the  right,  or  east,  being  high 
and  piled  up  in  great  ridges,  he  concluded  to  change  his  course 
to  a  more  westerly  one,  for  in  this  direction  the  way  seemed 
more  open.  He  therefore  changed  his  tactics,  and  instead  of 
going  through  the  hillocks  he  went  around  them,  steering  his 
great  carcass  among  these  obstructions  until  he  had  boxed  the 
compass  many  times. 

He  now  came  to  a  different  country,  where  the  obstructions 
were  more  formidable,  land  higher,  rock  and  stone  more  com- 
pact and  covered  with  a  thick  growth  of  forest.  Nothing 
daunted,  he  rushed  on,  throwing  his  whole  strength  into  the 
work.  He  scooped  out  a  small  lake  which  is  now  called  Big 
Butte  des  Morts;  by  forming  this  lake  he  had  tapped  another 
supply  of  water  to  help  him  on  his  way,  the  Wolf  River.  En- 
couraged by  this  he  moved  along  with  more  vigor  and  force 
to  greater  and  more  herculean  deeds.  Another  lake  of  greater 
extent  was  formed;  here  he  sported,  rolled,  dove,  and  swam  to 
his  heart's  content.  Being  wise  he  knew  by  the  peculiar  glim- 
mer at  times  in  the  eastern  sky  that  his  work  was  nearly  done, 
that  a  large  body  of  water  lay  off  to  the  east  and  north,  that 
the  Great  Lakes  were  near. 

He  made  another  circuit  of  the  lake,  now  called  "Winnebago, 
to  find  the  weakest  part  of  the  barrier.  He  chose  the  north- 
west portion,  for  there  the  land  is  lower;  there  he  made  the 
breach  and  scooped  out  a  small  lake  below,  called  now  Little 
Butte  des  Morts.  After  remaining  there  a  short  time,  he  con- 
cluded to  visit  Lake  Winnebago  again  and  enjoy  himself.  After 
a  time  the  desire  to  reach  the  Great  Lakes  returned  stronger 
than  ever.  When  he  returned  to  the  outlet,  Winnebago  Rapids, 
he  decided  that  he  needed  more  water  below  to  help  him  through 
the  rocky  stratum ;  so  at  it  he  went  and  soon  accomplished  the 

On  rushed,  with  its  guide,  the  increased  flood  of  water,  tear- 
ing and  rending  the  solid  rock  and  removing  the  superincum- 
bent earth  and  thus  forming  the  Grand  Chute.  On  went  the 
work  of  reformation.  The  Little  Chute  was  reached ;  the  Grand 
Kaukauna  was  twisted  and  wrenched  and  the  afterflow  was 
left  to  complete  the  work,  while  the  great  tide  swept  on,  left 
its  mark  at  De  Pere,  and  passed  on  wasting  its  strength  in  the 
Great   Lakes.     Subsequent!  v   the   great   fabulous   serpent   was 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

swept  over  Niagara  and  perished  ingloriously  in  its  turbulent 

The  Lakes  of  Fox  River 

We  are  moving  along  at  our  usual  pace  of  a  little  over  three 
miles  an  hour,  gradually  unwinding  the  crooks  and  turns  of 
this  serpentine  river.  To  cheer  and  pass  the  time  the  bowsman 
as  he  breaks  his  set  at  the  end  of  the  push,  and  turns  to  walk 
to  the  bow,  bursts  forth  into  a  merry  song  which  breaks  in 
echoes  along  the  silent  stream,  each  man  marking  time  with 
his  feet.  In  silence  they  reset  their  poles,  push  to  the  end, 
rise,  and  the  whole  crew  break  forth  in  a  repetition  of  the  line. 
Thus  each  line  is  sung  to  the  end  of  the  song. 

Wearied  of  this,  for  a  time  a  dead  silence  ensues,  there  being 
heard  only  the  set  of  the  poles  and  tramp  of  feet  along  the 
walking  boards.  Steadily  they  set,  push,  and  rise,  and  the 
boat  glides  along  over  this  smooth  and  gentle  stream  appar- 
ently with  little  effort.  But  here  we  are  at  our  camping 
ground,  nearly  forty  miles  from  the  Butte. 

Of  the  scenery  I  can  say  but  little.  It  has  a  sameness  not  as 
pleasing  as  the  lower  Fox.  Prairie  and  sparsely-timbered  land, 
intermixed  with  the  roll  of  the  prairie  on  the  east  side,  form  in 
some  places  a  grand  spectacle.  In  a  few  places,  where  the 
river  has  made  its  way  through  the  drift,  there  are  bluffs  of 
considerable  height.  We  will  try  to  reach  Gleason's  place  on 
Lake  Puckaway  to-morrow,  and  another  day  and  a  half  will 
put  us  at  Fort  Winnebago. 

Just  as  the  sun  is  rising,  the  boat  is  ready,  and  all  are  aboard. 
More  twists  and  turns  and  points  deviate  our  course,  and  within 
a  few  miles  we  have  steered  to  every  point  of  the  compass.  On 
the  introduction  of  the  larger  and  longer  boats  we  were  obliged 
to  cut  away  many  of  these  points,  for  there  was  not  room  to 
turn  the  bends.  We  always  carry  shovels  and  picks  for  this 
purpose,  and  to  remove  the  sand-bars  that  form. 

We  will  today  pass  an  interesting  point  a  few  miles  below 
Lake  Puckaway — a  hill  of  considerable  elevation,  at  right  angle 
with  the  river,  forming  a  long  narrow  ridge,  the  north  slope  of 
which  is  an  easy  grade,  the  south  side  being  steep.  On  the 
apex  are  two  rows  of  mounds,  each  four  of  them  forming  a 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

square  of  seventy-five  or  a  hundred  feet.  The  north  row  be- 
gins with  a  mound  two  or  three  feet  high ;  to  the  east  is  another 
mound  in  exact  line,  a  little  larger  than  the  first,  and  so  on  as 
far  as  I  traced  them,  each  succeeding  mound  increasing  in  size. 
The  south  row  was  in  reverse  order,  diminishing  in  size  going 
east,  while  the  north  row  diminished  running  west,  so  that  the 
four  formed  a  square. 

Lake  Puckaway  is  in  view  from  this  point — long,  narrow, 
and  shallow,  overgrown  in  part  with  reeds  and  rushes,  hence 
its  name.  At  Gleason's  place  on  the  east  side  we  will  make 
a  short  stop,  and  then  go  on  to  Buffalo  Lake  through  a  narrow 
channel  that  connects  the  two  lakes.  This  is  difficult  to  pass 
by  reason  of  the  shallow  water  and  the  crooks  and  turns,  but 
we  will  reach  the  head  of  Buffalo  Lake  to-night  and  camp. 
This  lake  is  long  and  narrow  with  high,  irregular  banks,  mostly 
of  sand,  especially  at  the  foot  of  the  lake.  Our  camp  is  at  last 
reached  after  a  long,  weary  push.  "We  are  glad  to  rest  and 

The  morning  opens  bright  and  clear.  Push  on,  all  together. 
Here  is  Mud  Lake ;  well  named,  for  there  is  nearly  as  much 
mud  here  as  water.  If  the  Fox  is  the  crookedest  river  in  Wis- 
consin, this  lake  has  more  mud  to  the  square  foot  than  all  the 
other  lakes  in  the  Territory  put  together.  Its  bottom,  if  it  has 
any,  is  far  below  the  reach  of  our  longest  pole.  We  are  obliged 
to  use  our  oars  to  cross  this  reservoir  of  mud,  until  we  can 
again  find  water  and  a  bottom  for  our  poles. 

The  Fox  turns  and  twists  around  these  points  and  bends. 
We  face  the  north,  then  the  east,  the  south,  and  the  west,  and 
back  again.  But  we  are  making  progress  now;  there  is  the 
fort,  the  bends  unwind,  the  points  grow  less,  the  river  straight- 
ens, a  few  more  shores  and  here  is  our  landing.  A  small  crowd 
greets  us — the  officers  from  the  fort,  the  sutler,  and  a  few 
settlers  from  the  west  side  of  the  river.  The  arrival  of  a  boat 
from  Green  Bay  is  quite  an  event  for  the  residents  of  this 
place,  who  receive  most  of  their  supplies  from  our  town. 

Fort  Winnebago 

We  will  unload  the  boat  and  prepare  for  her  passage  down 
the  river  at  the  peep  of  dawn.     Meanwhile   the  goods    will 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

be  checked  and  the  necessary  papers  made  out,  so  that  there 
need  be  no  delay.  In  preparing  the  boat  for  her  return  trip, 
a  fireplace  will  be  built  of  stones  and  turf  in  the  middle  of 
the  craft,  in  which  to  do  our  cooking.  Other  little  arrange- 
ments will  also  be  made  for  our  comfort,  so  that  there  will  be 
no  let  or  hindrance  in  our  passage  down. 

The  Portage,  or  Fort  Winnebago,  is  not  a  pleasant  place  as 
compared  with  many  other  locations  on  the  Fox.  The  fort  is 
built  on  a  bluff  on  the  east  side,  a  short  distance  from  the  river 
fronting  the  south.  The  sutler's  store  is  situated  near  the  bank 
of  the  stream,  not  far  from  the  fort.  The  shops  and  other 
necessary  buildings  are  1200  or  1500  feet  south  of  the  fort; 
the  grounds,  as  is  usual  with  army  people,  are  kept  neat  and 
clean.  A  bridge  connects  the  two  sides,  just  below  the  sutler's 

Just  above  the  fort  the  river  makes  a  turn  to  the  east,  along 
the  higher  land  on  that  side,  leaving  on  the  west  the  greater 
part  of  the  low  lands,  or  portage.  On  a  bluff  about  a  half  mile 
from  the  river,  west  of  and  nearly  opposite  the  fort,  are  situ- 
ated the  Indian  agency  and  the  residences  of  some  of  the  orig- 
inal settlers.  This  bluff  sweeps  around,  trending  to  the  west, 
until  it  strikes  Wisconsin  River  about  three  miles  southwest  of 
the  fort,  forming  a  portaging  place  between  the  two  rivers, 
Boats  with  their  cargoes  are  portaged  here  on  heavy  wagons 
made  for  that  purpose,  and  when  launched  on  Wisconsin 
River  make  their  way  to  Prairie  du  Chien  or  St.  Louis. 

When  in  1829  the  United  States  rebuilt  Fort  Winnebago,16 
contracts  for  building  material  were  given  out.  Father  took 
one  to  make  and  furnish  all  the  brick,  for  he  had  all  the  im- 
plements used  in  brick-making,  besides  men  skilled  in  the  busi- 
ness. A  year  or  two  after  the  visit  of  Lafayette  to  the  United 
States,  father  built  a  small-sized  Durham  boat  which  he  named 
"Lafayette."  She  was  a  light,  easy-running  craft  of  from 
fifteen  to  twenty  tons.  This  boat  was  loaded  with  brick-making 
tools  and  all  necessaries,  and  with  a  crew  of  ten  or  twelve  men 

19  The  fort  was  built  during  the  autumn  of  1828;  Arndt  refers  to 
the  erection  of  additional  and  permanent  buildings  in  1829.  See  Wis. 
Hist.  Colls.,  xiv,  pp.  65-74. — Ed. 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

was  sent  to  Fort  Winnebago.    I  went  along  as  a  sort  of  super- 

It  was  in  early  June.  The  boat  having  a  light  load  and  a 
large  crew  ascended  the  rapids  and  in  a  few  days  reached  Fort 
Winnebago.  All  arrangements  for  the  work  were  soon  made, 
and  the  place  where  the  brick  were  to  be  made  chosen — on  the 
Wisconsin  River  about  a  mile  and  a  half  southwest  of  the  fort. 
The  work  was  well  and  quickly  done  under  the  superintendence 
of  James  Stewart  from  Ohio,  whom  father  had  employed  for 
the  purpose.     The  kiln  could  be  seen  for  years  thereafter. 

Return  Voyage 

Early  next  morning  we  start  on  our  downward  way.  The 
boat,  being  light,  glides  easily  and  swiftly  along,  and  turns  the 
points  with  ease.  When  we  get  through  these  short  turns  and 
have  long  reaches  ahead,  the  wind  being  favorable,  we  shall 
make  sail  and  push  along  faster.  We  should  reach  our  camp 
of  night  before  last  by  noon,  and  if  the  wind  holds  good,  we 
may  anticipate  a  fine  sail  through  Mud  and  Buffalo  lakes. 
This  will  continue  down  the  outlet,  most  of  the  way  into  and 
through  Lake  Puckaway,  until  we  enter  the  outlet  or  river  where 
it  takes  a  short  turn  to  the  west.  There  we  will  have  to  use 
our  oars,  unless  the  wind  follows  us  around  the  bend. 

We  have  been  making  good  progress  during  the  night,  both 
with  oars  and  sail.  If  this  wind  holds  good,  which  I  hope 
and  think  it  will,  there  will  be  less  rowing  and  poling  and  more 
sailing,  and  tonight  we  shall  sleep  at  Winnebago  Rapids.  It 
is  nearly  noon,  and  the  progress  we  are  making  will  take  us 
to  Big  Butte  des  Morts  by  the  stroke  of  twelve.  Here  we  are 
on  this  beautiful  lake,  with  "a  free  sheet  and  a  following 
wind."  Let  her  go  free  in  the  open  sea.  She  is  moving  lively 
now,  for  the  wind  is  stronger  here  and  increasing.  We  have 
passed  the  Butte  and  the  high  lands,  and  the  low  lands  are  on 
either  side.  When  we  make  and  turn  that  point  to  the  right, 
Lake  Winnebago  will  be  seen. 

The  wind  is  stronger  and  more  steady  since  we  left  the  high 
lands  and  the  shelter  of  the  forest.  We  will  keep  the  boat  well 
out  in  the  lake,  to  catch  all  the  wind  there  is,  and  have  a 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

freer  sheet,  for  the  wind  will  follow  somewhat  the  trend  of  the 

We  are  now  on  the  open  sea,  with  a  fair  wind.  The  boat  is 
moving  along  like  a  thing  of  life,  throwing  the  water  from  her 
sides  as  she  swiftly  passes  through  it.  The  day  is  waning,  but 
we  have  time  yet  to  reach  our  camp  if  this  wind  holds,  for 
there  is  Garlic  Island  to  the  left  and  abreast  of  us.  We  are 
measuring  off  the  miles  at  a  great  rate.  See  how  quickly  we 
reach  from  point  to  point ;  the  last  one,  forming  the  outlet  to 
the  lake,  and  where  we  will  camp,  looms  up  and  is  growing 
nearer  and  more  distinct  every  moment.  Now  we  open  the 
passage,  and  see  the  shores  on  either  side.  Starboard  your 
helm,  let  go  and  haul  the  starboard  sheet,  luff.  The  boat  turns 
the  point  and  is  safely  moored  for  the  night. 

Arise  my  brave  crew ;  one  more  effort  on  the  home  stretch 
and  we  will  be  there  'ere  the  sun  sets.  Cast  off  the  lines,  man 
the  poles,  give  her  to  the  current  as  it  flows,  and  guide  her 
straight  from  rock  to  rock.  That  was  well  done.  These  rapids 
are  past,  and  here  is  Little  Lake  Butte  des  Morts.  The  wind  is 
fair,  hoist  the  sail  and  let  her  go. 

Here  is  the  Grand  Encampment.  Take  in  the  sail  and  lower 
the  mast,  for  we  cannot  jump  the  Chute  and  rapids  with  it 
standing;  it  might  give  us  some  trouble.  Make  everything 
ready  and  take  the  poles;  we  will  push  her  down  to  the  Chute, 
jump  it,  and  let  the  swift-running  water  do  the  rest,  except 
to  guide  and  keep  the  boat  parallel  with  the  current. 

Here  she  goes.  The  current  has  got  the  boat  within  its  grasp ; 
she  is  driven  ahead  on  nearly  a  level  keel  more  than  a  third 
her  length  before  the  bow  dips  to  the  incline  below  and  makes 
the  plunge.  It  is  done  so  quickly  and  her  motion  is  so  rapid  that 
you  can  hardly  realize  what  has  taken  place  before  you  find 
yourself  a  mile  below  the  Chute  and  still  going  on  at  a  railroad 
speed.  If  well  done,  it  is  grand  and  exciting  and  attended  with 
but  little  danger. 

We  pass  down,  until  we  come  to  Grignon's  (or  the  upper) 
landing.  A  little  below  this  we  strike  the  main  rapids.  The 
river  is  here  contracted  by  an  island  on  the  east  or  south  side. 
It  is  said  that  there  is  a  fall  here  of  nearly  forty  feet  in  a  little 
over  a  mile.  In  one  place  the  boat  makes  three  tremendous 
plunges  in  succession.     As  she  shoots  along  on  the  crest  of  the 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

wave,  the  bow  rises  as  she  goes;  when  the  crest  is  about  mid- 
ship, up  goes  the  stern  and  the  bow  plunges  into  the  foaming 
water  ahead,  throwing  the  spray  clear  to  the  stern  of  the  boat. 
Thus  three  times  she  rises  and  plunges  through  this  tumult  of 
water,  each  time  increasing  her  speed,  which  is  fearful  to  see. 
The  last  blow  given  to  these  troubled  waters  was  more  terrific 
than  the  first;  it  made  the  boat  tremble  from  stem  to  stern, 
but  she  recovers  and  glides  along  to  more  tranquil  water.  Thus 
we  pass  the  rapids  of  the  Grand  Kaukauna  to  the  still  water 
below,  where  we  hoist  the  sail  and  pass  on  down  to  Green  Bay. 
The  trip  which  I  have  here  described  was  made  in  twelve  days 
— nine  days  on  the  upward  journey  and  three  on  the  return, 
besides  some  night  work,  using  the  sail  on  the  return  journey 
whenever  possible.  The  distance  from  Green  Bay  to  Fort  Win- 
nebago is  160  miles,  which  gives  us  about  eighteen  miles  a  day 
on  the  upward  trip,  and  fifty-four  or  fifty-five  on  the  return, 
including  the  night  work.  The  distance  travelled  on  the  round 
trip  (320  miles)  makes  an  average  of  nearly  twenty-seven  miles 
per  day  during  the  long  days  of  June. 

The  Durham  monopolizes  Traffic 

After  its  introduction,  the  Durham  boat  was  in  constant  use 
on  Pox  River  between  Green  Bay  and  Fort  Winnebago,  and 
was  some  times  used  on  Wisconsin  River  as  far  as  Prairie  du 
Chien,  and  even  to  Galena.  It  drove  the  French  batteaux  almost 
entirely  out  of  use,  as  it  carried  a  larger  load  and  required  fewer 
men  to  handle  it.  From  the  year  1825  until  the  completion 
of  the  improvement  of  Fox  River,  it  was  the  usual  means  of 
transportation  on  that  river. 

As  the  business  increased,  more  boats  were  built  and  improved. 
The  open  uncovered  space  between  forward  and  after  decks  was 
housed  with  a  strong  but  light  frame,  covered  with  a  double 
course  of  half-inch  pine  boards,  securely  nailed  and  painted, 
the  sides  enclosed  with  adjustable  shutters  of  the  same  material, 
making  a  dry  comfortable  cabin  for  either  freight  or  passengers. 
Still  other  changes  and  improvements  were  introduced.  The 
larger  boats  when  completed  and  fully  equipped  for  use,  cost 
about  a  thousand  dollars.  To  save  their  wear  and  tear  in  the 
rapids,  smaller  ones  were  built,  something  like  the  batteaux  but 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

with  more  beam  and  lower  sides,  whose  tonnage  was  about  a 
third  of  the  larger  boats  and  their  cost  much  less.  They  were 
used  in  the  rapids  between  Grand  Kaukauna  and  Grand  Chute, 
and  were  found  to  save  both  time  and  money.  One  set  of  the 
Durhams  was  used  between  Green  Bay  and  Kaukauna,  and  an- 
other set  between  the  Grand  Chute  and  Fort  Winnebago.  The 
small  boats  were  used  exclusively  until  the  road  was  finished, 
when  the  greater  part  of  the  goods  were  hauled  from  Kaukauna 
to  the  Chute  by  teams.  This  lessened  the  time  in  the  rapids  and 
the  cost  of  transportation. 

Three  lines  of  boats  competed  for  the  business,  so  the  price 
of  the  work  was  lowered  and  the  profits  lessened.  Father  could 
stand  this  competition  better  than  those  who  were  new  in  the 
business.  He  built  his  own  boats,  and  in  every  respect  was  better 
equipped  in  men  and  material  from  his  long  experience  in  their 
use.  Several  parties  tried  the  experiment  of  building  their  own 
boats,  but  did  not  succeed  very  well,  for  their  craft  proved  to 
be  too  heavy  and  logy,  being  badly  built. 

Daniel  Whitney,  who  had  purchased  several  boats  from  father, 
thought  he  could  build  them  cheaper  himself.  He  found  and 
hired  a  man  from  somewhere  on  the  Mississippi,  who  said  he 
knew  all  there  was  to  know  about  the  Durham  boat.  He  set 
him  to  work  at  his  ashery  at  the  Grand  Kaukauna,  and  began 
to  collect  the  material. 

Lumber  was  plenty  and  easy  to  get,  but  the  iron  work  was 
another  thing,  especially  the  spike.  Good  blacksmiths  were 
scarce.  Father  had  a  shop  and  blacksmith  helper  and  had  the 
blacksmithing  done  for  his  own  boats.  Mr.  Whitney  applied  to  him 
to  do  the  work  and  make  the  spikes  and  bolts.  The  new  boat 
builder  had  whittled  out  a  pattern  of  a  spike,  about  four  inches 
long  and  %  of  an  inch  wide,  a  perfect  wedge  with  a  head  on. 
Father  at  once  said:  "Mr.  Whitney,  that  boat  will  never  go  up 
Fox  River;  that  shaped  spike  will  split  every  plank  and  timber 
in  which  you  attempt  to  drive  it,  or  if  you  use  a  bit  large  enough 
to  drive  without  splitting  it  will  leave  a  leak;  and  besides  it 
will  not  hold  the  planking  in  their  place  without  clinching. 
Your  man  is  no  boat  builder,  no  mechanic,  and  your  boat  will  be 
a  failure." 

Mr.  Whitney  was  somewhat  set  in  his  way,  and  no  argument 


Pioneers  and  Durham  Boats  on  Fox  River 

could  induce  him  to  change  the  shape  of  the  spikes,  so  they  were 
made  as  ordered  and  the  result  was  as  predicted. 

The  following  spring  the  boat  was  launched  after  much 
trouble  and  expense.  Mr.  Whitney  was  by  this  time  convinced 
that  the  boat  was  a  failure  as  far  as  navigating  the  rapids  of  the 
upper  Fox ;  she  was  too  heavy,  for  a  third  more  lumber  was  used 
than  was  necessary.  She  drew  six  or  eight  inches  more  amid- 
ship  than  she  did  before  or  after,  besides  other  defects  in  her 
construction.  He  concluded  if  she  would  not  do  for  the  rapids 
and  upper  Fox  he  would  take  her  to  Navarino  and  make 
a  wood  and  lumber  raft  of  her.  He  put  a  big  crew  aboard  and 
started  down  the  rapids.  After  much  time  and  hard  work  they 
got  the  boat  below  the  Croche,  but  stuck  her  fast  about  half 
way  between  the  Croche  and  "Wrightstown,  where  she  remained 
several  weeks  before  they  attempted  to  move  her  again.  The 
bad  construction  of  the  boat  and  the  hard  knocks  she  received 
in  going  over  the  Grand  Kaukauna,  started  the  calking  from  the 
seams  and  made  her  leak  badly.  In  course  of  time  they  got 
her  to  the  Bay,  fixed  her  up,  and  sent  her  to  Duck  Creek  for 
a  load  of  wood.  The  next  morning  after  being  loaded,  she 
again  sank,  and  this  was,  if  I  recollect  rightly,  her  last  trip. 

The  introduction  of  the  Durham  boat  was  a  novelty  to 
the  people  residing  on  the  Fox.  They  declared  at  first  that  it 
would  be  an  impossibility  to  force  that  big  boat  with  its  great 
load  up  and  through  the  rapids ;  it  would  take  lots  of  men  and 
weeks  to  make  the  trip  to  the  Portage.  Better  use  the  French 
batteau,  to  which  they  had  long  been  accustomed.  At  the  first 
trial  of  the  boat  they  wrere  dissuaded  of  their  hereditary  belief 
by  the  ease  with  which  she  passed  along  with  her  great  load, 
and  by  the  power  and  control  that  each  man  had  with  the 
shoulder,  where  his  whole  muscular  strength  as  well  as  his 
weight  could  be  applied.  The  small  hand-pole  used  on  the 
French  batteaux  had  brought  into  play  only  muscles  of  the 
arms.  The  change  of  opinion  was  sudden.  The  Durham  moved 
more  easily  through  the  water, we  were  not  so  tired  when  the  day's 
work  was  done,  even  though  we  had  shoved  the  big  boat  with  a 
load — three  times  greater  than  that  of  the  batteaux,  more  than 
thirty  miles  each  day  after  clearing  the  rapids.  Even  on  the 
upper  Fox,  because  of  her  peculiar  build  she  moved  more  easily 
than  the  batteau. 

15  [  219  ] 

Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

The  crews  were  mostly  made  up  of  men  born  in  Canada,  who 
at  an  early  age  had  enlisted  in  the  service  of  the  American  Fur 
Company  for  a  term  of  from  five  to  ten  years  where  their  wages 
were  low,  and  their  food  corn  and  tallow,  eked  out  with  the 
products  of  the  chase.  After  completing  their  term  of  service, 
many  of  these  men  remained  in  the  Green  Bay  settlement,  soon 
married  either  a  squaw  or  a  woman  of  mixed  blood,  and  large 
families  were  the  result.  The  boys,  as  they  grew  to  manhood, 
followed  the  pursuit  of  their  fathers,  or  entered  the  transporta- 
tion business,  and  made  up  the  crews. 

Recently  a  Prairie  du  Chien  paper  noted  the  death  of  Alex- 
ander Gardapie,  an  old  voyageur,  ninety  years  of  age.  He  was 
one  of  the  members  of  my  favorite  crew.  He  had  been  born  and 
raised  on  a  farm  on  the  west  side  of  the  Fox,  north  of  and  ad- 
joining that  now  owned  by  Isaac  Dickey.  Note  the  age  at  which 
he  died,  indicating  the  vigorous  hold  he  had  on  life.  This  is 
but  a  sample  of  that  once  efficient  crew  and  the  men  who  com- 
posed it.    Many  of  them  lived  to  four-score  years  and  beyond. 


Territorial   Supreme  Court 

The  Supreme  Court  of  Wisconsin 

By  Robert  George  Siebecker 

The  act  of  Congress  establishing  the  territorial  government 
of  Wisconsin,  in  1836,  provided  for  a  territorial  court  of  three 
judges,  to  whom  was  committed  the  high  function  of  forming 
the  system  of  civil  courts  designed  by  the  general  government, 
and  of  executing  judicial  power  for  a  people  who  had  thereto- 
fore lived  in  the  free  and  unregulated  state  of  primitive  times. 
Under  this  act  the  president  of  the  United  States  appointed 
Charles  Dunn  of  Illinois,2  David  Irvin  of  Virginia,3  and  William 
C.  Frazier  of  Pennsylvania4  to  constitute  this  tribunal.  On 
July  4,  1836,  the  territorial  government  officers  subscribed  the 
oath  of  office  at  Mineral  Point.  The  judges  of  this  court  did 
likewise  and  thus  took  the  first  step  to  establish  courts  for  the 
infant  territory  of  Wisconsin.  The  court  first  met  to  hold 
a  session  at  tins  place,  Belmont,  on  December  of  the  same  year. 
The  executive  and  legislative  departments  of  the  territorial  gov- 
ernment had  theretofore  located  here  and  legislative  activities 
had  been  begun  in  a  session  commencing  October  25,  1836.  At 
this  first  session  of  the  court  Chief-Justice  Dunn  and  Associate- 

1  Address  delivered  by  Mr.  Justice  Siebecker  of  the  Supreme  Court 
of  the  State  of  Wisconsin  at  the  unveiling  of  the  tablet  erected  by  the 
Wisconsin  Federation  of  Women's  Clubs  on  October  7,  1912,  on  the  site 
of  the  first  territorial  capitol  of  Wisconsin  at  Leslie  (formerly  Bel- 
mont)   in  Lafayette  County. — Ed. 

'  See  estimate  by  Martin  in  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  xi,  p.  408. — Ed. 

•Sketched  by  Draper  in  Id,  vi,  p.  379;  see  also  Proceedings,  1911,  pp. 
182-186.— Ed. 

« See  Wis.  Hist.  Colls.,  i,  pp.  127-130.— Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

Justice  Irvin  were  present  and  participated  in  the  formal  or- 
ganization of  the  court  by  appointing  a  clerk,  administering  the 
oath  of  office  to  Henry  S.  Baird  as  territorial  attorney-general, 
and  admitting  a  number  of  persons  to  practice  before  the  court ; 
but  no  litigated  matter  was  presented.  The  court  adjourned 
and  designated  Madison  as  the  place  where  it  would  convene  in 
July  of  the  following  year,  and  there  all  subsequent  meetings 
of  the  court  have  been  held.  These  are  the  few  and  simple 
annals  that  tell  the  beginnings  of  the  judicial  history  of  the 
people  inhabiting  the  beautiful  and  expansive  domain  of  our 

Turning  our  view  further  backward  to  the  remote  beginnings  of 
white  settlement  in  this  territory,  there  arises  in  our  minds  a 
picture  of  the  condition  of  a  primitive  wilderness  abounding  in 
all  the  natural  resources  that  are  needed  to  supply  the  wants 
of  an  enlightened  people,  awaiting  only  the  skillful  hand  of 
man  to  convert  them  to  his  beneficial  use.  The  people  who 
undertook  this  great  task  well  knew  that  this  could  be  accom- 
plished only  under  a  well  regulated  society  through  the  orderly 
processes  of  civil  government,  which  would  protect  life  and 
person,  and  secure  to  everyone  the  fruits  of  their  labors  and  the 
blessings  of  their  homes.  To  aid  in  accomplishing  this  was  the 
high  function  of  the  courts  as  a  branch  of  civil  government. 
The  social  conditions  that  then  existed,  practically  imposed  on 
the  inhabitants  the  necessity  of  employing  individual  power  td 
protect  themselves  in  their  personal  and  property  affairs,  since 
the  situation  only  admitted  of  an  imperfect  administration  of 
law  among  the  few  and  widely  separated  inhabitants. 

Prior  to  1823,  judicial  transactions  of  a  minor  character  were 
confined  to  the  local  courts,  before  justices  of  the  peace,  and 
obviously  they  were  administered  in  an  irregular  and  desultory 
manner  under  the  prevailing  crude  and  unorganized  conditions. 
All  civil  and  criminal  matters  of  a  graver  nature  were  under 
the  law  tried  in  the  supreme  court  of  the  territory  at  Detroit, 
Michigan.  This  necessarily  compelled  the  people  to  forego  a 
resort  to  the  courts  for  the  enforcement  of  legal  rights,  on  ac- 
count of  the  great  distances  and  lack  of  highways,  as  well  as 
the  other  hardships  and  cost  of  travel.  In  1823,  Congress  re- 
moved these  difficulties  in  part  by  providing  for  an  additional 
judge  for  that  part  of  Michigan  Territory  lying  west  of  Lake 


Territorial   Supreme  Court 

Michigan.  James  Duane  Doty,  then  twenty-four  years  of  age, 
was  appointed  to  this  office,  and  continued  in  this  service  until 
1832,  when  he  resigned  and  was  succeeded  by  David  Irvin,  who 
remained  in  office  until  the  organization  of  the  Wisconsin  terri- 
torial government  in  183G. 

Until  1827  the  appointed  places  for  holding  this  court  were  at 
Green  Bay,  Brown  County,  and  at  Prairie  du  Chien,  Crawford 
County ;  but  at  that  time  a  change  was  made  from  the  latter  place 
to  Mineral  Point,  Iowa.  County.  Little  is  specifically  known  of 
the  conduct  of  judicial  transactions  during  these  years.  The 
tradition  is,  that  the  court  met  the  needs  of  the  community  in 
a  practical  way,  under  the  peculiar  exigencies  and  occasions  of 
the  time,  though  its  procedure  for  enforcing  its  mandates  as 
an  instrumentality  of  justice  and  social  order  was  characterized 
at  times  by  novel  and  unusual  methods.  It  may  be  prob- 
lematical whether  or  not  a  regular  and  orderly  procedure,  ap- 
propriate to  an  old  and  established  community,  would  have  been 
suitable  to  an  efficient  enforcement  of  law  under  the  conditions 
of  those  early  days. 

Transgressions  against  the  security  of  life  and  limb  were  by 
force  of  circumstances  dealt  with  in  a  summary  way,  in  order 
to  restrain  offenders  from  violations  of  the  peace  and  good 
order.  Under  these  circumstances  the  power  conferred  by  the 
Ordinance  of  1787,  to  promulgate  civil  and  criminal  law,  could 
not  readily  be  executed,  for  an  employment  of  orderly  proced- 
ure in  the  customary  ways  was  materially  hampered  and  re- 
stricted by  the  prevailing  primitive  state  of  affairs.  Nor  were 
the  territorial  judges  and  officers  supplied  with  means  to  pro- 
mulgate and  enforce  a  system  of  procedure  such  as  pre- 
vailed in  older  states  and  which  had  been  evolved  under  more 
favorable  conditions. 

It  is  manifest  that  this  new  court  began  its  activities  in  an 
environment  devoid  of  the  influences  that  had  shaped  the  law 
of  more  thickly-settled  and  well-governed  communities.  The 
rapid  increase  in  population  after  1830  in  the  mineral-pro- 
ducing region  and  in  the  organized  counties  where  the  public 
domain  was  open  for  sale  and  entry,  brought  about  the  need  for 
an  efficient  local  self  government  to  protect  the  various  interests 
growing  out  of  new  and  flourishing  enterprises.  The  terri- 
torial courts,  which  constituted  the  pioneer  institutions  in  the 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

judicial  history  of  our  State,  were  established  to  meet  this  de- 
mand. Though  the  period  during  which  they  flourished  was 
but  brief,  their  influence  gave  birth  to  a  system  of  courts  that 
has  maintained  and  promoted  the  peace  and  prosperity  of  the 
people  of  our  State  to  this  day. 

Progress  in  establishing  a  system  of  law  and  courts  appropri- 
ate to  the  necessities  of  the  times  was  much  accelerated  by  a 
rapidly-growing  population  and  its  expanding  commerce  and 
industry.  As  the  people  learned  to  know  the  possibilities  of 
their  surroundings,  they  framed  laws  which  sprang  from  their 
necessities  and  from  their  aspirations  for  and  ideals  of  freedom 
and  self-government.  Since  their  industry,  commerce,  and  hus- 
bandry were  undeveloped  and  engrossed  their  attention,  it  is  nat- 
ural that  they  developed  a  sense  of  responsibility  pertaining 
to  individual  affairs  rather  than  those  concerned  with  public 
interests.  We  should  therefore  expect  that  the  courts  would 
devote  their  labors  to  protecting  the  private  rights  and  inter- 
ests of  the  people.  This  is  manifest  from  their  records,  which 
show  that  they  were  principally  occupied  in  redressing  wrongs 
and  enforcing  rights  of  this  nature.  The  environment  and  life 
of  the  people  worked  for  simplicity  and  practically  in  the 
affairs  of  life.  The  spirit  of  actuality  was  potent  in  the  ad- 
ministration of  the  law  and  became  infused  into  its  fabric.  It 
was  effective  in  suppressing  useless  ceremonial  and  conventional 
practices  which  served  no  useful  purpose.  This  spirit  tended 
to  the  adoption  of  the  customs  and  usages  of  the  times  as  the 
best  means  for  the  enforcement  of  the  moral  rules  on  a  level 
with  the  people's  practical  ethical  sense. 

The  ideas  and  practices  infused  into  our  law  by  these  early 
courts  has  continued  to  mould  the  jurisprudence  of  our  State 
and  made  it  receptive  to  such  changes  and  improvements  as 
the  progress  of  the  people  has  demanded.  We  cannot  doubt  that 
these  conditions  were  influential  in  developing  the  ideas  and 
sentiments  which  found  expression  in  our  State  constitution 
and  our  system  of  law  and  courts.  Among  the  effective  causes 
creating  these  favorable  conditions  was  the  sentiment  of  a  com- 
mon purpose,  which  later  became  operative,  to  promote  the  good 
of  the  people  as  a  whole.  This  is  a  powerful  incentive  to  aid 
in  the  building  of  a  system  of  jurisprudence  promotive  of  the 
common  good.    It  tends  to  prevent  the  adoption  of  partial  and 


Territorial   Supreme  Court 

technical  regulations,  regardless  of  their  fitness  to  serve  indi- 
vidual and  public  interests,  and  serves  to  foster  practical 

The  part  pla}red  by  the  early  judges  materially  aided  the 
conditions  favorable  to  the  enactment  of  good  laws  and  promotive 
of  the  fortunes  of  our  people.  Inspired  by  their  conception  of 
natural  justice,  the  people's  enthusiasm  for  good  government 
received  expression  by  them  in  a  liberal  and  practical  admin- 
istration of  the  law.  That  these  influences  were  an  effective 
agency,  influencing  their  judicial  action,  is  shown  with 
remarkable  clearness  and  force  as  we  study  the  course  of  the 
events  that  resulted  in  the  formation  of  the  people's  institutions 
and  laws.  It  promoted  the  spirit  for  improvement  in  legal  pro- 
cedure, culminated  in  the  adoption  of  our  code  at  an  early  day 
in  the  history  of  our  State,  and  led  to  many  reforms  which 
simplified  the  law  and  accommodated  it  to  the  actual  needs  for 
a  practical  regulation  of  affairs,  thereby  developing  among  the 
people  a  respect  for  law  which  has  been  most  potent  in  inspiring 
faith  in  their  government  as  an  agency  under  which  they  might 
secure  the  blessings  of  liberty  and  enjoy  the  fruits  of  their  toil. 

I  rejoice  that  the  power  of  this  influence  is  not  spent  and  that 
it  operates  today  among  our  people  to  maintain  a  respect  for 
government  and  to  check  the  disdain  for  law  and  order  which 
breeds  the  spirit  that  incites  men  to  destroy  their  most  benefi- 
cent institutions.  It  helps  to  keep  before  us  the  ideal  of  a  sys- 
tem of  laws  which  will  further  our  best  interests  and  protect  us 
in  the  things  we  cherish  as  most  sacred  in  life. 

The  achievements  of  our  pioneer  courts  are  an  assurance  that 
the  judges  composing  them  were  men  of  probity  and  intelligence 
and  of  original  and  constructive  thought.  Of  the  three  original 
appointees,  Judge  Frazier  died  October  18,  1838.  It  is  said  of 
him:  "His  career  in  Wisconsin  was  so  brief  and  unimportant 
that  but  little  is  now  remembered  of  it  beyond  the  anecdotes 
found  in  the  published  Collections  of  the  Wisconsin  Historical 
Society,  except  that  which  is  in  a  great  degree  traditional." 
Andrew  G.  Miller  of  Pennsylvania  was  appointed  his  successor.5 
As  so  constituted,  these  appointees  held  office  until  the  organiz- 
ation of  the  State  government  in  1848.     The  history  of  their 

•For  a  biographical  sketch  see  Id,  vii,  p.  463. — Ed. 


Wisconsin  Historical  Society 

services  shows  that  they  were  men  of  high  judicial  integrity 
and  that  they  were  impelled  by  an  earnest  fidelity  and  zeal  to 
administer  exact  and  equal  justice.  Their  strong  natural  abil- 
ities and  large  capacities  had  been  improved  by  training  and  cul- 
ture. They  fitted  well  into  a  generation  in  the  legal  profession 
when  men  stood  on  the  solid  ground  of  their  individual  power, 
and  they  were  characterized  by  resolution  and  forcefulness.  In 
their  knowledge  of  men  and  things  they  were  broad,  and  they 
dealt  considerately  with  every  class  of  the  people  •  in  all  their 
varying  relations  and  interests.  A  knowledge  of  the  wide  range 
of  affairs  and  conditions  of  their  day,  coupled  with  their  pro- 
fessional learning,  enlarged  their  views  of  life  and  cultivated  in 
them  the  sagacity  of  men  of  the  world.  They  stood  in  high 
esteem  with  members  of  the  legal  profession  and  the  people,  for 
their  social  virtues  and  for  their  devotion  to  a  faithful  discharge 
of  their  high  official  duties.  Their  lives  and  work  justify  the 
belief  that  they  did  much  to  promote  the  highest  good  of  the 
people  of  this  State,  and  as  pioneers  of  civilization  in  this  great 
Northwest  contributed  much  to  the  wholesome  influences  that 
impart  a  respect  for  law  and  government. 

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